SNP delivers a timid budget

Speaking in the chamber after the SNP government published its Draft Budget for 2013/14, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

“Thanks to the Finance Secretary for the advanced notice of his statement and also for his offer of talks.

“Last year Liberal Democrats worked constructively to deliver changes with extra fund for colleges, social housing and early intervention. This year I hope we can work together again to protect those gains in a £34billion budget that has increased in cash terms.

“Mr Swinney said he wanted a "relentless pursuit of economic growth" but this is a timid budget proposed by a government more focussed on independence than economic growth.

“If he was really committed to doing all he can he would make the necessary reforms to release £1.5 billion locked up in the accounts of Scottish Water to invest in creating 100,000 jobs in broadband, science, early intervention and energy efficiency.

“That’s the kind of change that prioritises the economy.

“Will he make those reforms, to release the money to create the jobs?