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Scottish Budget Plan 'Misleading', Says IFS Think Tank

8th February 2024

The Scottish budget gives a "misleading impression" about spending increases, a think tank chief has said.

Institute for Fiscal Studies associate director David Phillips warned it was unlikely NHS Scotland would "survive" without extra funding this year.

Ministers said health spending would rise by 1.3% in real-terms in 2024-25, compared to the 2023-24 budget.

But Mr Phillips said the health budget was actually being cut by 0.7% when in-year funding top-ups are considered.

The Scottish government stated in-year funding would be key to real-terms growth in 2024-25.

When Finance Secretary Shona Robison announced budget proposals in December, the government said it would deliver a 1.3% real-terms increase in health funding, as well as a 6.2% real-terms rise in funding for local government.

But David Phillips told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that this created a "misleading impression".

He said the projected 1.3% real-terms increase in health funding "ignores" an extra £600m added to the health budget during 2023-24. Mr Phillips said when this is taken into account, the new budget figures would represent a 0.7% decrease in real terms.

Read the full BBC article HERE

Budget Scrutiny 24/25

Interview on BBC Radio Scotland 6 January 2024 Good Morning Scotland - 1:44:40 into the programme