McAlpine welcomes funding to boost growth for the region

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South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the Finance Secretary’s commitment of £10 million for the new South Scotland Enterprise Agency.


The spending was announced in today’s draft budget, along with a raft of measures that will also benefit Dumfries and Galloway.


Protecting the Small Business Bonus Scheme, lifting 100,000 properties out of business rates altogether and a £600 million investment to ensure every home in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021 will all help boost growth in the region, and across the country.


In addition the NHS will get an above inflation rise and public sector employees will see their pay lifted by 3%, something that has not happened elsewhere in the UK. Because Scotland’s budget has been cut by the UK government, the additional spending on health will be supported by modest tax rises on higher earners. Everyone earning less than £33k will see their tax bills fall slightly.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:


“This afternoon’s draft budget includes a number of measures that will boost economic growth and improve productivity to ensure that Dumfries and Galloway is very much ‘open for business.’


“The funding for the new South Scotland Enterprise Agency will help support its objectives of ‘sustaining and growing communities’ and ‘capitalising on people and resources’ – objectives which mirror those of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and which has been so successful in addressing issues faced in the north of Scotland.”


Today’s draft budget will help support a stronger economy and a fairer society, with increased funding for the NHS and protection for low and middle income earners.


Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:


“We are investing in our public services and supporting business to develop and thrive. This budget mitigates against the UK Government’s cuts to our block grant.


“It delivers an additional £400 million to the health service, it invests in expanding childcare, delivering broadband, building 50,000 new homes and supporting our police and fire services.


“It provides the investment we need to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of tomorrow.”


Other measures include:


  • Increase spending on the health service by over £400 million – £200 million more than inflation.
  • Provide £120 million – over and above core education funding – direct to head teachers to help ensure all young people can fulfil their potential
  • Lift the one per cent public sector pay cap and provide for up to a three per cent pay rise for NHS staff, police, teachers and others earning up £30,000
  • Invest £243 million towards the expansion of free nursery education and childcare
  • Protect funding for Police and Fire services including retaining VAT refunds in full
  • Deliver a local government finance settlement worth more than £10.5 billion
  • Contribute £756 million towards investment of more than £3 billion by 2021 to deliver 50,000 affordable homes
  • Allocate over £4 billion of funding for infrastructure
  • Deliver £600 million to ensure every home and business will have access to superfast broadband by 2021
  • Deliver the first £70 million of a new £150 million Building Scotland Fund
  • Set aside £340 million for initial capitalisation of the Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Invest nearly £2.4 billion in our colleges, universities, enterprise and skills bodies – including a real terms increase for both college and Higher Education budgets


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