Delivering for Scotland

Whilst the political pantomime at Westminster over Brexit unfolds, here in Scotland, the SNP Government continues to deliver stability and investment for our communities and public services.

 

For instance in last week’s Scottish Budget, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay filled the stockings of vital public services, including an extra £730 million for Scotland’s NHS – which remains the best-performing health service in the UK. That means that NHS Forth Valley will see an increase in its budget of £20.2 million – or 4%.

£20.2 million increase in funding to NHS Forth Valley

It is a budget will invest in Scotland’s future generations. £500 million of investment will deliver the expansion of early learning and childcare, and £120 million will go straight to headteachers so that they can make informed decisions about how best to close the attainment gap in our schools. This will help to give every child the best education opportunities, no matter their background.

 

Indeed, our education system in Scotland is going from strength to strength. We now have the highest number of primary school teachers since 1980, and an all-time record number of school buildings across the country.

 

And the results that our young people are achieving speak for themselves. Most people being assessed under the Curriculum for Excellence are achieving their expected grade, based on their teacher’s professional judgement. And, at the end of their school career, we now have more people achieving Highers and going on to positive destinations (employment, modern apprenticeships, college or university).

 

The Scottish Government’s Draft Budget also invests in our local services, with direct funding to Councils being increased in real terms. Already, this year, combined additional funding between the Scottish Government and Stirling Council has seen £2 million extra being spent on fixing Stirling’s roads. This is in stark contrast to the years of neglect which we saw whilst the Tories were in charge of local finances for our area, and I look forward to further progress being made in coming years.

Importantly, the Scottish Government is raising the revenue needed to fund these commitments through the fairest income tax system in the UK. 99% of people in Scotland will not pay any more income tax next years as a result of this Budget, with only the top 1% paying slightly more.

Elsewhere, Scotland has just built it’s 80,000th affordable home since the SNP came to power in 2007. This means that we now have 50% more affordable homes, and five-times as many social rented houses per head of population than England.

 

Recently, Scotland was praised by former US Vice-President Al Gore for leading the way globally in reducing our carbon footprint and fighting climate change. Since the SNP came into Government in 2007, our carbon emissions have reduced from 97.7 million tonnes to 76.5 million tonnes. Clearly much room left for improvement, but great progress has been made to date.

It is the Scottish Government’s plan to increase the use of renewable energy resources (wind, hydro, wave, tidal, biomass, solar and geothermal), replacing damaging fossil fuels so that 100% of our gross annual electricity consumption is renewable by 2020. Already, our interim target of 50% by 2015 has been met, and we are making huge progress in order to achieve this.

In addition to this, the Scottish Government is investing in promoting the increase in demand and popularity for electric vehicles. This will help with our overall ambition to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland by 2032.

The SNP government aims to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2032

So whilst Westminster’s nightmare before Christmas has distracted much of the media’s attention, it is important to note that it is the SNP Government that is getting on with the day job of delivering for our country.

 

And with that, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Progress for Stirling: SNP’s Programme for Government

This year’s SNP Programme for Government will help contribute to a successful and vibrant Stirling area, driving progress in health, social security, the environment and the economy, the SNP’s Bruce Crawford has said.

 

The Stirling area will benefit from ambitious action in a wide range of areas throughout 2018-19, including:

  • Empowering head teachers to lead improvements to their schools with more power over their own budgets; developing ways for parents and pupils to ensure their voices are heard in decision-making; giving £10m to schools and councils to work together across regions; continuing to support teacher recruitment; and investing £33 million over three years to help children in care with education.
  • A National Export plan ‘A Trading Nation’, backed by £20m, will boost the value of Scottish exports, help Scottish companies succeed in emerging markets, and provide additional help to those considering overseas trade.
  • The National Infrastructure Mission, the most ambitious infrastructure spending plans yet, will invest £1.5 billion more infrastructure each year by 2025-26, including for faster broadband, improved transport and more low-carbon energy.
  • £250m will be invested to reform the way we treat mental health in children and adults – delivering 430 new school, college and university counsellors, and fast-track specialist treatment systems for those with serious mental illness.
  • A new Scottish Social Security System with dignity and respect at its heart will deliver 11 benefits, including the first Best Start Grant payments for low income families with young children by Christmas, 6 months earlier than planned; a 13% increase in the Carers’ Allowance – an extra £442 per person this year – as well as funeral expense assistance.
  • New legislation to introduce a Scottish National Investment Bank.
  • A major package of reforms in the justice system – with a new support system for victims, witnesses and families of those affected by crime, including a dedicated case worker for families of murder victims, improved information and support about prisoner release, as well as support for engagement between victims and offenders to help the victim and to prevent reoffending.
  • £1bn investment a year including funding for low carbon transport solutions and to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 – creating at least 20 electric towns across Scotland by 2025; adding 1500 new charge points in homes, businesses, and in public; investing £20 million to help people switch to electric vehicles; adding more than 1500 new ultra low emission vehicles to public sector fleets; and investing £1.7 million to add over 100 green buses.

SNP MSP for the Stirling Constituency, Bruce Crawford said:

 

“The SNP’s plan for Scotland signals a major boost for jobs and the economy in the Stirling area, including an additional £7 billion infrastructure investment in schools, hospitals, transport and digital connectivity over the next five years.

 

“We are continuing the major reforms in our health, education and justice systems over the course of 2018-19 – with a significant £250 million extra funding for mental health services, increased support for teachers, head teachers, parents and pupils, as well as a major package of reforms for the justice system, increasing support for the victims of crime and their families.

 

“With Scottish exports up 12% – the fastest growth in the UK – a £20m National Exports Plan this year will ensure Stirling businesses thrive in the face of the Tories’ damaging hard Brexit plans.

 

“Despite Brexit, we will ensure Scotland remains an attractive place to live and work and provide advice and support for those EU citizens already living in  that are dealing with the Tory government’s unfair plans to charge them for the right to live and work here.

 

“And our global climate change ambition will continue to be matched by realistic action, with £1billion funding in low carbon and public transport over the next year.

 

“These bold and ambitious plans for the year ahead are just some of the reasons why the SNP is the second biggest party in the whole of the UK.”

Nearly 200 houses in Stirling sold through Help-to-Buy

Following a question to the Scottish Government Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart, from Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford, it has been revealed that the SNP Scottish Government’s Help to Buy Scheme has benefitted the sale of 190 houses in the Stirling area.

 

Help to Buy scheme in Scotland means that first-time buyers and existing homeowners can purchase a new build home without the need for a large deposit.

 

Mr Stewart also responded to a further question from Mr Crawford, confirming that an estimated 76% of people who have benefitted from the scheme are under 35 years old, and 66% have been first-time buyers.

 

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

 

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy Scheme has benefitted so many people looking to own their own home in the Stirling area.

 

“The SNP Scottish Government has extended the scheme until 2021, with another £100 million being invested in helping people purchasing a house over that period.

 

“Owning your own home or getting on the property ladder can be exciting, however the cost of a mortgage on a house can often be off-putting – particularly for fist-time owners. That’s why this scheme works and has benefitted nearly 200 sales in the Stirling area alone.

 

“I would urge anyone who is looking to buy a home in the near future to look at how Help to Buy can help.”

 

Information on Help to Buy can be found on: https://www.mygov.scot/help-to-buy/