Budget focus on training, skills and supporting business.
Capitalising on opportunities created by the green economy while strengthening Scotland's pandemic recovery is a major focus of the 2022-2023 Scottish Budget.
An additional 68.3 million is being allocated for employability and training to help businesses address skills shortages and create high quality, sustainable jobs. This takes total spending in this area to more than 124 million and is targeted at all sectors and social groups, including people currently furthest from employment, so that everyone and every region can benefit from Scotland's economic transformation.
To accelerate the potential of digital technology 192 million is allocated to improve connectivity and boost the digital economy. This is 48 million more than in 2021/22 and includes specific support for small and medium-sized businesses.
The spending plans also maintain the Scottish Government's non-domestic rates reliefs package. This will save ratepayers more than 800 million and includes the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which takes over 111,000 properties out of rates altogether and is the most generous relief of its type in the UK.
In 2021/22 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have received 100% rates relief, meaning they pay nothing until April 2022, while equivalent businesses in England started paying rates last July. From April there will be ongoing rates relief for these sectors at 50% until July 2022, capped at 27,500 per ratepayer. In addition, Scotland continues to offer the lowest non-domestic rates poundage in the UK.
Other Budget funding for 2022/23 includes:
- 215 million for the Scottish National Investment Bank to enable it to invest in existing and emerging sustainable businesses
- 370.5 million for Scotland's enterprise agencies, up from 340 million in 2021/22
- 20 million as the first allocation to the 10 year 500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray
- 49.2 million for VisitScotland, returning its core budget to pre-Covid levels and reflecting its important role in promoting Scotland and supporting the tourism sector
- 225 million for Skills Development Scotland to support a range of national training interventions
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
The Budget delivers a package of economic support while also looking to the future by helping businesses take advantage of new technologies, re-skill their employees and obtain the finance required to develop innovative products and pursue new markets. We are investing in providing people with the skills needed to secure high quality jobs as we accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and create a more prosperous, fairer and greener economy.
It provides a strong platform for the ten year National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which will be published shortly and set out a long term approach to investing in innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting current and emerging businesses and markets.
We are all too aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had - and continues to have - on our businesses and the Scottish economy. The emergence of the new Omicron variant and the speed at which it is spreading brings even more uncertainty.
This Budget aims to provide as much support and stability as possible but because the UK Government has stopped providing additional COVID-19 funding it doesn't go as far as we would like in providing assistance to businesses. We have pressed the UK Government to provide certainty over funding and will continue making this case strongly as we monitor the new variant.
The Scottish Budget 2022/23 invests 635 million across Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish National Investment Bank and VisitScotland to support economic recovery and transformation.
It includes an additional 45 million to support the Young Person's Guarantee (YPG) targeting employment support for young people through new and enhanced employment and training opportunities. Since the start of the pandemic the Scottish Government has invested 130 million in the YPG.
The Budget also invests more than 40 million in all-age employability services through the No One Left Behind approach. Almost 24 million is committed to the delivery of Fair Start Scotland, providing person-centred support for people further from the labour market, including disabled people, those with long term health conditions and from minority ethnic communities.