What did Kate Forbes announce today in her Scottish budget statement?

The SNP Finance Secretary today made her third stage budget statement amid a covid recovery and cost of living crisis.

With around six weeks until the new financial year, Kate Forbes has warned that SNP ministers are “still awaiting the finalized funding agreement” from the UK government.

While the budget for the financial year 2022-2023 is still being finalised, here are some of the key points Ms Forbes made in her statement to ministers at Holyrood this afternoon.

Cost of life

In her statement, Ms Forbes first addressed the rising cost of living faced by Scots across the country.

She warned that rising energy costs alone would push thousands of households into fuel poverty.

In her budget statement, Ms Forbes pledged to provide £150 to every household benefiting from council tax relief across all council tax brackets, as well as providing local authorities with funding to pass on £150 to other employed households in bands A to D in Scotland. .

READ MORE: Kate Forbes announces £150 council tax rebate for 1.8million Scottish homes

She also announced £10 million to maintain the Scottish Government’s Energy Insecurity Fund to help households at risk of self-disconnecting or self-rationing their energy use due to costs unaffordable fuel.

This package announced today comes on top of an additional £120million previously announced for local government next year, to help prevent inflation from raising local taxes.

local councils

Ms Forbes also announced today that any underspent discretionary housing payment funding would be allowed to be redistributed between local councils and carried over into next year to allow them to provide targeted, discretionary support.

In addition, any existing under-spending of the Scottish Welfare Fund will also be carried forward by local authorities for the same purpose.

Economic recovery from Covid

The Scottish Government previously allocated £276 million in business support funding to Omicron for the current financial year.

Today, Ms Forbes announced the allocation of additional funds to support the recovery of the business sector, including some of the hardest hit sectors, such as the events sector, the travel sector and city centres.

The funding includes an additional £16m for culture and major events that have been cancelled.

For the tourism industry, additional funding of £7.5 million is planned to support incoming tour operators.

The Scottish Government will also provide £3.5million to outbound travel agents who have been affected by restrictions on international travel throughout the pandemic.

An additional £3m will be available specifically for the city center resumption to improve footfall and help businesses that have been hit by, for example, office closures.

Mr President, we will also be providing further support to the childcare sector, as a fully functioning childcare sector is a central part of our national economic infrastructure and we are providing £6.5 million to this sector.

Additional funding of £3 million will be allocated to help small and medium-sized businesses continue to invest in digital adaptations.

£6.5m of support for the childcare sector will be allocated, which Ms Forbes described as ‘a central part of our national economic infrastructure’.

Dorothy H. Lewis