Tue 10 Sep, 2013

Scottish Greens are describing the draft 2014/15 budget due to be outlined tomorrow (11 Sep) by the Finance Secretary as a chance to ensure economic recovery benefits individuals and not just big business.

Many Scots are struggling to keep up with rising energy, food, housing and transport costs, while public sector pay has been capped below inflation.

The draft budget comes on the back of a rise in Scotland's carbon footprint, a failure to meet CO2 reduction targets for a second year, and widespread criticism of ministers' climate change proposals and policies.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

"This must not be a budget that stores up problems; we must use all the available powers at Holyrood to create jobs now and reduce inequality now. We need to see spending plans that close the gap between individual incomes and corporate wealth.

"So much of the cost of living could be tackled with this budget, from investment in energy efficiency to public transport. It could also do more to tackle the poor public health that is storing up massive costs for our NHS."

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood's economy committee, said:

"The Scottish Government likes to talk up tax cuts for big business when it should be prioritising support for small firms keen to create new jobs and help build strong local economies. Incentives to improve job security and town centres, and investment in childcare are also crucial.

"And after eleven deaths on the roads so far this year we must see serious funding for cycle infrastructure. Ministers have a final chance to recover their reputation."

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