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Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has given his view on the draft budget submitted to the Scottish Parliament.
It was unveiled on Thursday by Kate Forbes MSP, the cabinet member for finance with the SNP.
She hailed record funding of over £16 billion for the NHS and social care sector, £3.5 billion for social security and welfare payments, and investment of £2.7 billion in education and skills.
But Mr Cameron, a shadow cabinet spokesman in the Conservative opposition, said the measures to help businesses and jobs were ‘deeply disappointing’ and that the pledges around NHS and income tax followed ‘record UK Government funding’.
Mr Cameron said: ‘As the chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce put it, the measures do not go nearly as far enough to avoid the risk of widespread business collapse and job losses.
‘It seems quite extraordinary that, for instance, the SNP has failed to deliver 100 per cent rates relief for the full year despite having all the funding they need.
‘Overall, the failure to get cash to businesses in need has been a hallmark of the Scottish Government and this budget will do little to help.
‘Perhaps worst of all, the SNP continues to spend money and time on a divisive second independence referendum despite an ongoing health emergency and its accompanying economic shock.’
Maree Todd, a Highlands & Islands MSP for the SNP, said: ‘This budget has been delivered in exceptional circumstances as we continue to battle a global pandemic and face the harmful impacts of a Tory Brexit we didn’t vote for.’
‘I sincerely hope that MSPs from all political parties will back this Budget, which will support the Highlands & Islands recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and help us build a fairer, stronger, greener country.’