• STV
  • MySTV

Holyrood finance secretary 'open to compromise' over Budget

Derek Mackay is facing a crunch vote on his Scottish Budget proposals on Thursday.

Budget: Derek Mackay.
Budget: Derek Mackay.

Scotland's finance secretary has said he is "open to compromise" as he tries to strike a deal to allow his tax and spending plans for the next year to pass at Holyrood.

Derek Mackay is facing a crunch vote on his Scottish Budget proposals, with all the opposition parties having previously indicated they cannot support the package.

Labour have urged the other parties to join with them and "vote down" what they branded a "cuts budget".

Mr Mackay said the "ongoing uncertainty" caused by Brexit meant "there has never been more need for MSPs, of all parties, to act responsibly and not add to that uncertainty".

With the SNP not having a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the finance secretary has to convince at least one of the four rival parties there to back him.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's crunch Holyrood vote, Mr Mackay said: "Our spending plans for the coming year contain additional money for schools and hospitals, protecting vital public services and investing in our economy, while also providing stability amid the ongoing uncertainty caused by Brexit.

"With that backdrop in mind, there has never been more need for MSPs, of all parties, to act responsibly and not add to that uncertainty.

"So I urge all MSPs to unite behind the 2019-20 Scottish budget - that is what people the length and breadth of Scotland expect."

'Our spending plans for the coming year contain additional money for schools and hospitals, protecting vital public services and investing in our economy, while also providing stability amid the ongoing uncertainty caused by Brexit - with that backdrop in mind, there has never been more need for MSPs, of all parties, to act responsibly and not add to that uncertainty.'
Derek Mackay, Scotland's finance secretary

The Finance Secretary insisted the Scottish Government was "investing in essential public services, particularly the NHS" at the same time as ensuring 55% of income taxpayers in Scotland pay less than they would if they were living elsewhere in the UK.

"Taken together with the personal allowance, 99% of taxpayers will pay less income tax next year on the same income," Mr Mackay added.

He stressed: "Since introducing the Budget Bill, I have sought to engage with all parties in order to secure support for our spending plans.

"We are open to compromise in order to ensure we deliver the budget that the country expects and I am confident others will approach things in the same spirit."

The Scottish Greens, who supported his budget in the previous two years, said at the weekend they could not do so this time round without changes being made, claiming the current proposals were too "damaging" for local services.

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green co-convener, later indicated he could still do a deal if Mr Mackay was "willing to give ground".

He tweeted: "It's disappointing that we still don't have a fair compromise from the Government.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1435099-harvie-very-hopeful-of-striking-deal-on-scottish-budget/ | default

"But if @DerekMackaySNP is still willing to give ground, we are still focused on achieving what's needed for Scotland's local services, the people who deliver them and those who rely on them."

Labour Holyrood finance spokesman James Kelly said the budget needs major alterations. He said: "Derek Mackay has produced a cuts budget - £319m worth of cuts in funding for local government and cuts in tax for high earners.

"No credible anti-austerity party would ever propose it and all credible anti-austerity parties should vote against it. "The budget needs a fundamental rewrite, not more tinkering around the edges.

"That's why opposition parties should vote down the budget and tell Derek Mackay to come up with a better plan, like a 50p top rate of tax so that the richest pay their fair share." The tax and spending package currently before MSPs includes an additional £730m investment in health services in Scotland and £180m aimed at boosting attainment in schools.

It also outlines #5 billion of capital investment, including £1.7bn spending on transport infrastructure and a #50 million town centre fund to support struggling high streets.

Meanwhile, tax changes proposed in the budget will increase differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK. From April, taxpayers south of the border will only pay income tax at the 40p rate if they earn more than £50,000 a year - while in Scotland it is proposed people will pay the higher rate of 41p on earnings above £43,430.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.