Emergency budget review released – gov.scot

Additional funding to help those most in need.

The measures announced today will provide additional support to those most affected by the cost of living crisis while addressing fiscal pressures caused by rising inflation and economic uncertainty.

The Emergency Budget Review (EBR) for 2022-23 identifies funding of around £35m for a range of initiatives to support those facing the rising cost of living, including the doubling of the Energy Insecurity Fund, doubling of the Scottish Children’s Transition Payment to £260 and a new £1.4m Island Cost Crisis Emergency Fund to help island households cope higher energy costs.

Significant investments in public sector wage settlements – providing higher pay increases for low earners – are also designed to help families and individuals cope with the cost of living crisis.

Other measures include:

  • confirming funds to local authorities to support discretionary housing payments
  • establish a joint working group with business, COSLA, local authorities and agencies to examine the various impacts of regulation on business
  • extending energy advice to businesses by investing £300,000 to extend the services of Business Energy Scotland, while doubling the value of the SME energy efficiency loan and cashback scheme to £20,000
  • new payment suspension options to help protect those who have agreed to repay their debt through the debt arrangement program but are facing unexpected increases in the cost of living

Additional savings of £615million have been identified to help improve public sector wage offers while maintaining a means of complying with ministers’ responsibility to balance the budget. They follow savings of £560million announced on September 7.

Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney said:

“There has never been a period of greater pressure on public finances.

“The Scottish Government’s budget is now worth £1.7 billion less than when it was published last December. At the same time, the demand for government support and intervention is understandably increasing as we continue to try to fund rising demands for public sector compensation, especially for those on the lowest incomes.

“These savings are not what we would like to achieve, but in the absence of additional funding from the UK Government, we have no other alternative.

“We need to balance the books while prioritizing funding to help families, support businesses, provide fair wage rewards and protect public service delivery. This emergency budget review achieves these goals.

Background

Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister on the Emergency Budget Review

The emergency budget review

Equality and Fairer Scotland Evaluation of the Emergency Budget Review

Cost of living analysis report

Commentary by the expert group of economists

The EBR will see a new priority of spending £400million within health and social care to support a fair pay offer for NHS staff. The overall health budget remains unchanged. Additional savings of £33m have been found across the Scottish Government and £180m of capital expenditure cuts have been identified.

The RBA consisted of an in-depth review of all planned decentralized spending for 2022-23, across all portfolios, to support a path to balance the budget in light of significant pressure (e.g. inflation, wage settlements, increased demand) and identify opportunities for savings to support cost-of-living crisis relief measures. The process was informed by a group of eminent economists.

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