The Scottish budget process is based on the recommendations
of the Financial Issues Advisory Group (FIAG). The process was
to be 'open accessible and accountable to the people of Scotland'.
Parliament has the opportunity to comment on the Executive's
spending plans at several points during the year prior to the
annual budget being agreed. Therefore, Parliament's input into
this year's budget (2002/03) was made during 2001/02.
There are three main stages of the process with
input from the Parliament and the subject committees:
- Stage 1 (March-June 2001)
Publication of Annual Expenditure Report
with break down of Executive's spending plans and priorities.
Subject committees comment on policy areas,
reporting to Finance Committee.
Finance Committee reports to Parliament,
Parliament debates Report.
- Stage 2 (Sept – December 2001)
Subject committees examine and report to
Finance Committee considers draft Budget
and may propose alternative.
Finance Committee reports, and Parliament
- Stage 3 (January – February 2002)
The formal Parliamentary process of enacting
the Budget Bill. The Executive produces proposals after
considering Parliament's recommendations.
Parliament debates Budget Bill, only the
Executive can move amendments.
Parliament votes to accept or reject Bill.
If accepted it will authorise expenditure
for financial year 2002/03.
The 2002/03 Budget delivers a record £19.5
billion to finance the Executive's commitments.
This is a 3.5% increase on last year, and as inflation
is around the Government's target of 2.5%, does represent a
real terms increase.
the money is going:
With a budget of over £6.5 billions, the Executive
claims a 4% increase in resources to local government. The bulk
of the budget goes to support the full range of local authority
services. Just under £0.5 billion goes to local authority capital
investment in infrastructure: schools, roads and transport.
However, UNISON is concerned at the growing reliance on PFI/PPP,
and the lack of information on how this money is being spent
The increase in the health budget of nearly £0.5billion
on the previous year to over £6billions is very welcome after
years of underinvestment. UNISON is pleased to see the incorporation
of £100m a year to fund free personal care of the elderly. The
budget also funds recommendations of the Commission for the
Regulation of Care, improvements to services for cancer, heart
disease/stroke and mental illness.
Health promotion measures such as fresh fruit
for infants, free toothpaste and toothbrushes for children,
and the doubling of the resources to help people quit smoking,
are also included. This is all welcome, however, UNISON fears
that resources continue to be squandered on PFI/PPP projects.
Immense pressures remain on NHS staff with developments in new
treatments and technology, rising patient expectations, and
re-organisation of health trusts.
The budget for Justice is just over £1billion,
which resources the courts, police, fire and prison services,
and provides support for victims. Major new investment in the
prison estate, building two new house blocks at Polmont and
Edinburgh providing over 500 places, investment in DNA testing
and additional funding for the fight against organised crime
and to counter terrorist activities.
The additional resources are good news, but UNISON
would prefer a firm commitment of more funding for police civilian
and court support staff, who remain amongst the lowest-paid
public sector workers.
& Lifelong Learning
UNISON is concerned that Enterprise & Lifelong
Learning sees a drop from 2001/02 levels of around £55m in real
terms although the budget is still over £2billion. HE and FE
do retain levels of funding to resource over half a million
students in higher and further education institutions. The Enterprise
budget also aims to safeguard or create 11,000 jobs annually.
The transport budget is just over £1b for 2002/03,
an increase of over £40m on 2001/02. Key priorities are tackling
urban congestion, 16 road improvement plans by March 2002, and
a further 16 by March 2003.
The Social Justice budget for 2002/03 increases
by 5% to £748m. UNISON is alarmed at the emphasis on the Executive's
priority of supporting councils in housing stock transfers.
However, we welcome the continuing resources for the 5 year
programme of central heating installation in social housing.
The Executive claims a £40m increase on the 2001/02
figures taking its budget to £354m. Resources continue to go
on modernising school buildings and equipment, broadband connections
for schools, additional classroom assistants, and universal
provision of nursery education for all 3 and 4 year olds. Again
UNISON is concerned at the value for money of the PPP/PFI projects
for schools, which often do not result in improved classrooms
and Rural Affairs
The Environment and Rural Affairs budget is over
£1billion. There is a reduction in resources allocated to rural
affairs, but £0.3billion goes to water in Scotland. This is
to finalise the creation of Scottish Water, ensure delivery
on the improvements in drinking water and waste water quality,
and to legislate to implement the EC Water Framework Directive.
As expressed in our comments on the Water consultations UNISON
is concerned that changes in the industry will impact on levels
of service and our members' jobs. We welcome the Executive's
acknowledgement that further resources are required in this
area, and hope that this is followed up with real finances.
Whilst UNISON does welcome the more open and transparent
budget process, we still have concerns on the detail and the
presentation of information.
The full UNISON response can be viewed on our
The Budget 2002/03
Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill