While Labour snipped from the sidelines the SNP delivered an addition £20m announcement by Finance Secretary John Swinney to help those hit by the UK Government housing benefit cut.
Yesterday, following exchanges after John Swinney delivered his draft budget speech, Mr Gray who is Scottish Labour’s Finance Spokesman criticised what he called on the Scottish Government to fund the abolition at a total cost of £60m per year.
Falkirk Council’s SNP Housing Spokesperson, Steven Carleschi said,
“Labour in the Scottish Parliament are following their Falkirk Council colleagues in the double standards front.
They want Scots to meet the Westminster bill for the bedroom tax at the expenses of the Scottish NHS and other devolved services.
They remain silent on the £4.4 billion Scotland sent to Westminster in the last set of accounts published by the UK Treasury.
But then we are used to Labour saying one thing but doing the opposite but the crawling to the Tories must be nauseating to the victims of the bedroom tax.”.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney derided the Labour MSP’s attack pointing out that only last week Mr Gray’s own leader and her deputy contradicted one another in the same evening when asked if Labour would scrap the tax.
Speaking on STV Labour MP Anas Sarwar claimed his party would scrap the policy if it was in Government, but his Scottish superior Johann Lamont, when pressed, refused to confirm what Labour policy actually was.
Mr Swinney said: “Before the Labour party comes here and tries to lecture me about the Bedroom Tax, I suggest they get some coherence into their argument and back us on the steps we are taking on tackling the iniquitous effects of the Bedroom Tax on the people of Scotland.” he said.
peaking for the Scottish Tories, Gavin Brown said Mr Swinney’s budget had under-delivered. He accused the Scottish Government of penalising business by increasing business rates and of cutting funding to colleges.
In a withering response, Mr Swinney rounded on his Tory counterpart pointing out that the Scottish economy was currently outperforming the rest of the UK. Mr Swinney also explained that business rates annually rose across the UK as a result of inflation, and Scotland was no different.
Mr Swinney had announced his draft budget plans which he insisted was a budget for growth. The cabinet secretary announced extra funding for housing, sport and universities and colleges. There will also be an extension of the public sector pay increase cap of one per cent but with extra cash for low earners.
There is also extra funding for childcare and a pledge to safeguard funding for the Scottish NHS.