Social Services (Cuts)

First Minister’s Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 June 2024.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

Across Scotland, national health service and social care partnerships are facing a combined budget gap of almost £1.4 billion, which means that there will be severe cuts to social care services. In Glasgow, that will lead to cuts to community health services, cuts to the discharge and resettlement teams, cuts to care home nursing teams and the loss of 72 staff, including health visitors, nurses, allied health professionals and complex needs workers. Will the First Minister tell me why, if we all agree that we must increase support for primary care, his Government is doing the exact opposite in Glasgow and is cutting social services and staff?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

That is courageous questioning from Jackie Baillie. For some considerable time, I have been trying to set out to Parliament the enormous pressure on public finances. [Interruption.] If Jackie Baillie would stop interrupting me, we might make a little more progress.

Scotland faces a public spending crisis, but the Labour Party is proposing to continue that austerity. That is what is being proposed. [Interruption.]

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

This Government has taken hard decisions to increase the resources that are available for investment in public services. We have asked people with higher earnings to contribute more in taxation to enable us to invest more in the health service and in social care. That is what we have done. Jackie Baillie opposed that—she opposed every single bit of it.

There is now an opportunity, on 4 July, to elect a Government that could end austerity, but the Labour Party is not seizing the opportunity to end austerity—the Labour Party is going to prolong austerity. I gently suggest to Jackie Baillie that it would help the situation if the Labour Party committed itself to ending austerity and supported this Government’s agenda so that we could address the issues that she raises with me.