Our Policy and Campaigns Officer, Rona Johnson looks at some of the key spending promises from the Scottish budget 2020-2021.
At the beginning of the month, the Scottish Government announced their budget for 2020-2021.
The budget outlines how roughly £34 billion will be spent in Scotland.
Therefore, we thought we would highlight some of the key spending promises:
Health is a key aspect of the 2020-2021 budget, £1 billion additional funding has been promised. This also means, for the first time ever, investment in Scotland’s NHS will total over £15 billion.
One key increase in funding is mental health, with an extra £117 million investment in mental health services for all ages. Epilepsy has a significant impact on people’s mental health.
One in three people with epilepsy suffer from depression, compared to one in six for the general population.
Additionally, the social care budget will increase by £100 million, totalling £220 million. The primary aim for social care is to support people to live as independent a life as possible.
Therefore, we are pleased to see such an increase in health funding. We hope that some of this will go towards supporting;
- epilepsy specialist nursing
- mental health support to those with neurological conditions, particularly epilepsy
- training, recruitment and retention of neurophysiologists
- improved access to high quality social care for those with neurological conditions and learning disability
2020-2021 also marks the transition of power of some social security benefits from Westminster to Holyrood.
The Scottish Government will be in charge of delivering £3.4 billion of key benefits like Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). These will also be renamed under the new system.
The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Sommerville, announced the timeline for roll out of the new benefits:
- New claims for Disability Assistance for Children and Young People to open in summer 2020
- Children who receive the highest care component of Disability Assistance become entitled to Winter Heating Assistance (£200) by end of 2020
- The Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment (Disability Assistance for Working Age People) to open for new claims early 2021
- New claims for Disability Assistance for Older People will open 2021
- Winter Heating Assistance and Cold Spell Heating Assistance delivered to eligible recipients Winter 2021
- The replacement for Carer’s Allowance (Carer’s Assistance) to be open to new claims early 2022 payments of winter heating assistance and cold spell heating assistance
This is an exciting step towards achieving a better system for people with epilepsy.
Furthermore, we believe that the Scottish Government are learning from the DWP’s mismanagement of the benefits system.
We are also hopeful for change and will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that people with epilepsy are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.
What happens now?
The Scottish Budget 2020-2021 Bill is due to be debated at the Scottish Parliament Thursday 27th February 2020.
As the new financial year begins in April, the Government usually aims to have the Bill passed by the end of February. Timescales this year are particularly tight due to Westminster delaying the budget after the general election.
Once passed, the Scottish Government and other public bodies will begin to implement commitments set out in the act from April onwards.
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