Key Highlights: Shona Robison’s 2024/25 Scottish Budget

Shona Robison, serving as Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary, unveiled the government’s spending plans for the upcoming year yesterday afternoon, describing the 2024/25 budget as the most challenging since the inception of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Tasked with addressing a substantial £1.5 billion deficit in Scotland’s finances, Ms Robison outlined several crucial points during her speech.

Here, we provide an overview of the key measures:

Tax Rates

  • A new 45% tax band will be introduced for individuals earning between £75,000 and £125,140.
  • The top tax rate for those earning over £125,000 will increase by 1% to reach 48% next year.
  • Starter, basic, and intermediate tax rates will remain frozen at 19%, 20%, and 21%, respectively.
  • The higher band threshold will be frozen at £43,663, instead of rising with inflation.

Council Tax-Freeze

  • A council tax freeze will be “fully funded,” with an additional £144 million allocated to councils, reflecting a 5% rise above inflation.

Business and Economy

  • Rates for business premises valued below £51,000 will be frozen.
  • Hospitality businesses on Scottish islands will receive 100% rates relief, up to £110,000.

Child Poverty

  • The Scottish Child Payment will increase to £26.70 per week from April, up from the current £25.
  • Councils will receive £1.5 million to eliminate school meal debt nationwide.
  • Free school meals will continue for primary 1 – 5 schoolchildren, with a £43 million investment to extend the program to primary 6 and 7.

Health & Social Care

  • NHS boards will see a 4.3% funding increase, amounting to an additional £550 million.
  • The health service budget will reach £13.2 billion, reflecting an “above real terms” rise.
  • Social care, early learning, and childcare workers in the private, third, and independent sectors will receive a wage increase to at least £12 per hour from April 2024.

Energy and Environment

  • A £358 million funding boost will accelerate the implementation of clean heating systems.
  • £49 million will be invested to progress Scotland’s transition to a circular economy.

Public Services

  • The Scottish Police Authority’s resource budget will rise by £75.7 million.
  • Capital funding for Police Scotland to enhance estate, fleet, and technology will increase to £64.5 million.
  • The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will receive an additional £13.5 million for resource spending and an extra £10.3 million to improve facilities.
  • Funding for the Scottish Prison Service will increase by 10% to £38.6 million, with £176 million allocated to modernise the prison estate.

About the author

Martin Aitken & Co Ltd is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and business advisers.

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