Speaking ahead of tonight’s budget vote SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick warned the Labour party that should they become the first major party to vote against the budget they would be isolated across Scotland with council tax payers, businesses and communities all facing potential costs from Labour’s decision.
By voting against this year’s budget the Labour party would be voting against;
· £230 million of capital expenditure brought forward by the UK Labour Government’s pre-budget report
· support for 5000 jobs – particularly in the construction sector
· funding being brought forward for the SECC and the Edinburgh bioquarter, the Fife Energy Park, and road improvements across Scotland
· £50 million of additional spending in the NHS including building new health and dental centres in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Ayr and Inverness
· £70 million of early investment in affordable housing
In addition Labour will be voting against
· Council tax freeze and increased funding for local authorities
· £40 million increase in funding for free personal care
· Investment in tackling hospital acquired infection
· Investment to reduce waiting times and to cut prescription charges further
· Abolition of business rates for 120,000 small businesses
· More bobbies on the beat
Joe FitzPatrick said:
“If Labour become the first major party to reject a Scottish budget the SNP will make sure that decision is heard loud and clear by communities and businesses across Scotland.
“Labour will be voting against jobs, against business and against investment in our public services.
“They will even be voting against the UK Government’s decision to bring forward capital spending to help the economy at this difficult time.
“They will be forcing their own local authorities to cut back on services and increase council tax by between £130 and £400 to make up the difference.
“Midlothian council has already agreed a council tax freeze – Labour will be voting to take funding for that freeze away from them – leading to cuts in services.
“Iain Gray is so desperate not to look like “mince” this year he is threatening to make a dogs breakfast of Scotland’s economy.
“No major party has ever voted against the Scottish budget and Labour must realise the serious social, economic and political consequences of their actions.”