Scotlands Public Service Union









Search this siteWeb helpSite MapUNISON UK site


ResponsesResponses & Submissions Serving ScotlandBriefings Home


About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide
Scotland's Budget 2000 Briefing No 3
Scotland's Budget 2000 Briefing
This briefing explains the Scottish Executive's budget process and where the money will be spent. It also outlines UNISON Scotland's response to the Scottish Executive's spending plans and how we are consulting over next years budget. Comments and ideas from branches and members would be welcomed and can be directed to Dave Watson at the address below.


The Scottish Parliament is currently considering its first Budget Bill. This Bill sets out how the Scottish Executive proposes to spend the block grant agreed with the UK Treasury in 2000/01.

Budget Process

In a normal financial year there will be three stages:

  • Between April and June views are sought on future spending priorities.
  • Between October and December Parliament considers Minister's draft spending plans.
  • In February Parliament enacts the Budget Bill which gives authority to spend the money from 1 April.

As the Scottish Parliament only started on 1 July the consultation process for this year had to be shortened starting at stage 2.

How is the Money spent

The total budget for 2000/01 is £16,655m. This constitutes a 3% increase on the previous year. As inflation is currently 1.8% this represents a real term increase in expenditure. However, there are gainers and losers.

Local Government

The Executive claims a 3.6% increase in spending on local government taking the total spend to £6,727m. However, the published plans show an increase of only 2.4%. Within this budget education and social work gain at the expense of other services including environmental health, cleansing and leisure. No specific provision has been made for pay or any recognition of the single status agreement.


The headline 3.35% increase looks like a modest rise in expenditure taking the total spend to £5,246m. However, hospitals and community services only get a 2.11% increase. Most of the increase goes on the drugs bill, up 10.48%. Given the financial state of many NHS Trusts the NHSiS needs a much more substantial increase in spending.

UNISON's Response

Apart from commenting on individual budgets UNISON has strongly criticised the presentation of the spending plans.

Children & Education

This budget totalling £384m covers mainly small centrally funded initiatives. The main budget is included in local government.


Again this budget (£663m) covers mostly central initiatives. A large increase for New Housing Partnerships at the expense of local authority housing. A welcome increase in the Warm Deal and Social Inclusion funding.

Enterprise & Life Long Learning

An overall real term cut in expenditure down to £1875m although not in the mainstream HE and FE sectors. An unwelcome cut in Careers Service funding.


This budget is being reduced to £535m although criminal justice social work services are protected from these cuts.

Rural Affairs

The increase in resources to £554m goes mostly to farmers under the CAP. Scotland spends as much on supporting farms as we do on further education.


An overall cut down to £283m although the roads programme is protected.


Support for the water industry is being cut by £7m and this is reflected in the recent increase in water charges. As with Transport the additional cost of PFI eats into this budget.

It is a theme in many of these budgets that money is held back for centrally funded initiatives at the expense of services administered locally.

The published documents give only a superficial view of the Scottish Executive's spending plans. The political `spin' frequently does not match with the hard figures. If financial decisions are "to be shared with the people of Scotland" as the Executive claims then greater detail and clarity is required.

Several of UNISON's criticisms were supported by the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee in their submission.

Budget 2001/02

The 1st stage consultation on next years budget will begin shortly. UNISON's Scottish Committee has established a number of Policy Pools which will look at each budget in detail and the Public Finance Policy pool will pull together the UNISON Scotland response.

Comments and ideas from branches and members would be welcomed and can be directed to Dave Watson at the address below.

Further Information

The full UNISON Scotland response can be viewed by clicking here

The Scottish Executive consultation document "Spending Plans for Scotland" can be accessed at:

The Budget Bill is available on:

Dave Watson
the P&I Team,
14 West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0141-332 0006
Fax 0141-307 2572


Scottish Executive | Scottish Parliament | Briefings Home