Our priorities on Scottish taxes for the next five years will be to strike the balance between investing in public services, protecting those on low and middle incomes and supporting the environment.
We will initiate a full spending review starting in May 2016. This will be the tool we use to align Scottish Government spending with the priorities identified in this manifesto.
The spending review will allow the full implications of the recently agreed fiscal framework agreement to be set out, alongside independent reports on the economy and tax forecasts from an enhanced Scottish Fiscal Commission, operating in a similar way to the UK Office of Budget Responsibility.
The spending review will allow for the detailed alignment of the workforce planning and training required for our proposals on early education, mental health and GPs.
We will continue the broad direction of current Scottish Government spending, borrowing, efficiency and pay policies, except where explained below.
We will establish the Scottish Fiscal Commission on the same basis as the UK’s OBR in order to provide independent forecasts of the economy and public finances.
The Scottish Futures Trust has been given responsibility for managing much of the Scottish Government’s capital programme. We support the steps that it has taken to create attractive investment opportunities to add to capital investment in Scotland.
We are concerned that the so-called Hub approach advocated by the Trust bundles too many projects into a single contract. This runs the risk of locking out smaller, more local companies from even submitting a tender. We will examine the case for breaking contracts into smaller parts to help small business.