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SNP’s budget falls short

The SNP’s budget falls short of Scottish Conservative demands, and cannot be supported by the party.

Finance minister Kate Forbes revealed the Scottish Government’s spending plans for the year ahead this afternoon.

And while some measures have been welcomed, shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said the nationalists had to go back to the drawing board if they wanted to get the plans through Holyrood.

Although Ms Forbes said there would be no increases in income tax, the decision to freeze thresholds means the tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK will widen again.

The SNP was also criticised for only handing Police Scotland an additional £37 million, when officers and auditors had demanded a minimum of £50 million.

Despite significant sums coming to Scotland thanks to health spending in Westminster, there’s no pledge to refund parking charges at three Scottish hospitals.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:

“As it stands, this budget falls well short of where we need it to be.

“The SNP has to go back to the drawing board and make improvements if it wants to win our support.

“Not enough money is being handed to police, the tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK will widen again, and there’s no commitment on hospital parking charges.

“The demands we made were not unreasonable, and we’ll be happy to speak to the Scottish Government about how to introduce these changes.”

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