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Scottish and Welsh Budget announcements – live blog

Wednesday November 17th, 2010

The Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government have announced their draft Budgets. Follow the GO Blog below for comment and analysis.

 

Scotland

  • Budget will promote and secure recovery, protect frontline services and take forward action on climate change, states John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth.
  • Public bodies will deliver 3 per cent efficiencies in 2011-12
  • Pay freeze for public sector workers earning over £21,000, this means a 10% reduction in pay for those taking over high earning jobs
  • “We will deliver on our pledge to protect the health budget, passing on Barnett consequentials of £280m” MSP John Swinney
  • An agreement with COSLA to deliver a further council tax freeze, maintain police numbers and key education and social care commitments
  • Funding for major infrastructure projects such as the new Forth Crossing, the South Glasgow Hospitals and Scotland’s Schools for the Future building programme
  • £2.5bn pounds pipeline of health, education and transport projects to be delivered through the Non-Profit Distributing model
  • Government will implement the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan by establishing the £70m Renewables Infrastructure Fund, which will receive £7m in 2011-12
  • Continue to lead the way on Public Procurement Reform Programme, delivering greater savings from collaborative procurement – with further savings of £61m in 2011-12, and some £200m over the next three years.
  • Scottish Funding Council’s budget will fall, but the Government has agreed with the further and higher education sectors that they will work collaboratively and efficiently to manage this reduction without reducing overall learning opportunities.
  • Skills Development Scotland will receive less money this year, but is being supported by efficiency savings and a redesign of the services they offer.

Key responses

MSP John Swinney – “This is a Budget that addresses a financial challenge without precedent since Devolution. Despite the biggest reduction in public spending imposed on Scotland by any UK Government, this is a budget that protects jobs, economic recovery and frontline services.

“This budget will therefore deliver increased efficiencies, including a target of three per cent savings across the public sector next year, further simplification of the public sector landscape, increased income within our existing powers and a public sector pay freeze which includes measures to protect the lowest paid.”

Alastair Merrill, the Scottish Government’s Director of Procurement, said: “Today’s budget underlines more clearly than ever before the importance of the public sector in Scotland continuing to improve the way goods and services are procured.  The paper published today, Efficiencies from Procurement, sets out how Scottish Government-led collaborative procurement will save £200 million over the next three years, including £61 million in 2011-12, and how we will continue to work across the wider public sector to accelerate the delivery of the benefits of the public procurement reform programme in Scotland”.

Ron Burges, CEO of BiP Solutions, the leading provider of cutting-edge solutions and services that help optimise supply chain value, said: “We agree that Scottish procurement is ahead of its UK counterpart when it comes to SME friendly procurement practices and applaud the introduction of a common PQQ across the Scottish public sector. Done properly, this will provide the ability to tailor it to a specific tender opportunity whilst removing the need to duplicate information time and time again.

“While it should make doing business with the Scottish public sector bodies easier, the key to success will be to ensure Scottish businesses are highly skilled at tendering for public sector opportunities through the EU procurement route and other processes employed by the public sector . We are therefore disappointed that more is not said about supporting the capacity and capability building of Scottish SMEs to win public sector business, not only in Scotland, but across the UK and beyond.”

Related documents

Scotland’s Spending Plans and Draft Budget 2011-12

Efficiencies from Procurement

Wales

The draft budget for Wales over the next three years has been revealed.

  • The total Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2011-12 is nearly £15bn
  • The total health budget will fall in cash terms by 2013-14 to £6.1bn. The education and skills budget will also fall.
  • The budget next year is due to fall by £860m – it will be £1.8bn lower by 2014-15.
  • These reductions follow the in-year cuts of £162m to our budget which were announced by the UK Government in June and are additional to the reductions to non-devolved budgets such as welfare (£18bn at the UK level), which will also be felt across Wales.
  • By 2014-15, the capital budget will reduce by 40%. This will be almost half 2009-10 levels in real terms, and will be at its lowest level since devolution. “This will have a major impact on the private sector and on our ability to invest in schools, hospitals and the critical infrastructure that is needed to support the fragile economic recovery.” – WAG
  • Around £470m of public funding has been allocated over the past 3 years in order to improve services, boost the economy and support schools, hospitals, affordable homes and improvements to infrastructure across Wales.
  • Supported by a £60m Invest-to-Save Fund and Local Service Boards, the Efficiency and Innovation Programme is delivering a collective, joined-up response to ensure public services are improved, spread best practice and ensure value for money is achieved for people in Wales.

Key responses

Minister for Business and Budget AM, Jane Hutt said: “Our draft budget is about building resilience – resilience in our economy, and in the provision of vital services on which people depend.

“From the outset, we have made it clear that we will look to protect investment in schools, skills and secondary and community healthcare and to maintain universal benefits, ensuring access to vital services and provision. Despite the challenges that we have faced, we have delivered a Draft Budget which reflects these commitments. However, our careful and prudent planning has enabled us to also prioritise investment in other frontline services and target support to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable in our society.”

Cllr John Davies (Pembrokeshire), Welsh Local Government Association Leader, said: “It is clear that Ministers have had to take difficult decisions and prioritise key services, including responding to the debate on ring fencing NHS funding. The WLGA supports these decisions and appreciates that the Minister for Local Government, Carl Sargeant and the Minister for Budget, Jane Hutt AM have listened and responded positively to the arguments made by local government particularly in relation to social care. I’m sure that council leaders will agree that in the current climate this outcome is as good as it gets although we will await the distributional impacts on individual councils next week and we must not forget the rising cost of services arising from inflation.”

Related documents

Welsh Assembly Government – Draft Budget 2011-2012

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