06 Feb 2014

John Mason MSP - small business bonus schemeThe passage of the SNP Government’s budget in the Scottish Parliament yesterday will boost Scotland’s economy, help with the cost of living and deliver vital action to mitigate Westminster’s iniquitous bedroom tax.

With a majority of Parliament endorsing additional funds to help combat the bedroom tax, Shettleston MSP, John Mason, said it showed Scotland should have the powers to scrap the Bedroom Tax.

Alongside targeting Westminster welfare cuts, the budget will continue the small business bonus scheme, protect free education, entitle primary one to three pupils to free school meals – saving at least £330 per eligible child; extend childcare provision to 600 hours for three and four year olds and for vulnerable two year olds – saving around £700 a year; and continue the Council Tax freeze that will have saved households £1,200 on average by the end of this Parliament in 2016.

Investment in infrastructure in Scotland will be supported to the tune of over £8 billion over the next two years, creating over 50,000 full time equivalent jobs.

Commenting after voting in favour of the budget, the East End’s MSP, John Mason, said:

“The purpose of yesterday’s budget was to boost our economy and support households with the rising cost of living.

“Delivering free school meals, extending childcare and protecting the Council Tax freeze will save hundreds of pounds for households across Scotland, not least for people across the East End.

“That is vital action to help people during difficult times and will be warmly welcomed by people across Scotland. What is also particularly welcome is that even more action is being taken to help people affected by Westminster’s bedroom tax.  I have already spoken to people and housing associations in my constituency who are being directly hit by this bedroom tax which 91% of Scottish MPs opposed.  Unfortunately Westminster imposed it anyway.

“The money has been put in place to mitigate the bedroom tax and the only thing standing in the way of immediate action is Westminster.  Given that the Scottish Parliament has united to back this budget, Westminster must not ignore our desire to rid Scotland of this unfair and iniquitous tax on some of the poorest in society.

“Of course far better than attempting to mitigate the deeply unfair bedroom tax would simply be to abolish it altogether.  Only a Yes vote in September will give the Scottish Parliament that right and ensure that Scotland’s welfare system reflects the priorities of people in Scotland rather than the Westminster Treasury, which seeks to only further widen the gap between the rich and the poor.”