Reform of social care will underpin Local Government spending, today’s Scottish budget revealed, as Ministers launched a fundamental realignment of spending on this essential service backed by £250 million of new investment. The move will see fewer people going to hospital to receive care and people spending less time in hospital.
Digital strategy spend increases to £130 million in 2016-2017 as part of package of measures to bolster the culture of innovation and connectivity across Scotland’s homes, businesses and universities, especially in rural areas.
Around £4 billion is to be invested over the next year in infrastructure – including house building, transport and digital links, including £1 billion for road and rail infrastructure and £90 million for affordable housing.
Responding to the Scottish Government’s draft budget announced today members of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland voiced disappointment:
Alan Ferguson Chair of The Existing Homes Alliance Scotland said: “Just a day after we learnt that there has been no progress in reducing the 35 per cent of Scottish households living in fuel poverty, the draft budget for ending cold homes is less than was available this year. This fails to reflect the Government’s commitment to a National Infrastructure Priority that will create ‘transformational change’ in improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes – making our housing fit for a low carbon Scotland. The evidence is clear – no other investment can do so much, particularly in a tight budget situation, to cut energy bills for the fuel poor, create 8-9000 jobs all over Scotland, reduce climate emissions and improve physical and mental health – a 2:1 benefit to cost ratio.”
Gina Hanrahan, Climate and Energy Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: “Hot on the heels of a Paris conference that showed increased international commitment to climate action, this draft budget does not deliver on the Scottish Government’s repeated commitment to embed climate change across the budget. In particular, it has not kick started the transformational approach to improving energy efficiency to which the Scottish Government has committed.
“We hope that the Scottish Government will take the opportunity to significantly boost funding for energy efficiency in the final budget and match this with a clear goal for all homes to reach a C energy performance standard by 2025, which is the minimum required if Scotland’s to hit its climate targets. This would help us to create thousands of new jobs, improve health and reduce the scourge of fuel poverty, whilst slashing emissions.”
David Stewart, Policy Lead at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said: “An ambitious National Infrastructure Priority will make our homes warm, comfortable and affordable to heat – addressing both fuel poverty and climate change. Research shows that no other investment can do so much to cut energy bills for the fuel poor, create 8-9000 jobs all over Scotland, reduce climate emissions and improve physical and mental health – a 2:1 benefit to cost ratio. This would be an important stimulus for the economy. ”