The Scottish Government has announced the publishing of its Emergency Budget Review to provide additional help to those who have impacted the most by the cost of living crisis, as well as helping to curb the budgetary pressures being caused by rising inflation and economic uncertainty.
The Emergency Budget Review for 2022-23 has outlined how £335 million worth of funding can help support a plethora of initiatives to help people with the increased cost of living. This includes doubling the Fuel Insecurity Fund, doubling Child Bridging Payment to £260, and a £1.4 million Island Cost Crisis Emergency Fund. The latter will give assistance to island households as they manage higher energy costs.
Other measures include:
- Supporting local authorities with the delivery of Discretionary Housing Payments.
- The establishment of a joint taskforce to bring business, COSLA, local authorities and agencies together, to consider the differing impacts of regulation on businesses.
- Offering businesses energy advice, through the investment of £300,000 to expand the services of Business Energy Scotland. This will be alongside the doubling of the SSME energy efficiency Loan and Cash Back Scheme for energy efficiency to £20,000.
- The creation of new payment break options to support those who have made arrangements to repay debt through the Debt Arrangement Scheme, but face unexpected increases in the cost of living.
Savings of £615 million have also been identified by the Scottish Government to enable the enhancement of public sector pay offers, whilst maintaining a way of complying with the responsibility to balance the budget. This comes after the announcement of £560 million worth of savings on 7th September.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said:
“There has never been a time of greater pressure on the public finances.
“The Scottish Government’s budget today is worth £1.7 billion less than when it was published last December. At the same time, demand for government support and intervention is understandably increasing while we continue to try to fund increased public sector pay claims, particularly for those on the lowest incomes.
“These savings are not ones we would wish to make, but in the absence of additional funding from the UK Government, we are left with no alternative.
“We must balance the books while prioritising funding to help families, back business, provide fair pay awards and to protect the delivery off public services. This Emergency Budget Review delivers on these objectives.”