McAlpine welcomes funding to boost growth for the region

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the Finance Secretary’s commitment of £10 million for the new South Scotland Enterprise Agency.

The spending was announced in December's draft budget, along with a raft of measures that will also benefit Dumfries and Galloway.

Protecting the Small Business Bonus Scheme, lifting 100,000 properties out of business rates altogether and a £600 million investment to ensure every home in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021 will all help boost growth in the region, and across the country.

In addition the NHS will get an above inflation rise and public sector employees will see their pay lifted by 3%, something that has not happened elsewhere in the UK. Because Scotland’s budget has been cut by the UK government, the additional spending on health will be supported by modest tax rises on higher earners. Everyone earning less than £33k will see their tax bills fall slightly.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“This afternoon’s draft budget includes a number of measures that will boost economic growth and improve productivity to ensure that Dumfries and Galloway is very much ‘open for business.’

“The funding for the new South Scotland Enterprise Agency will help support its objectives of ‘sustaining and growing communities’ and ‘capitalising on people and resources’ – objectives which mirror those of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and which has been so successful in addressing issues faced in the north of Scotland.”

Today’s draft budget will help support a stronger economy and a fairer society, with increased funding for the NHS and protection for low and middle income earners.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:

“We are investing in our public services and supporting business to develop and thrive. This budget mitigates against the UK Government’s cuts to our block grant.

“It delivers an additional £400 million to the health service, it invests in expanding childcare, delivering broadband, building 50,000 new homes and supporting our police and fire services.

“It provides the investment we need to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of tomorrow.”