Now I’m not a financial expert and it is far too much detail to take in straight away, so here is my first gut reaction.
What I think is interesting
In his statement Mr Swinney also talked about how bold he wanted to be in terms of preventative spending. In 2011 the General Assembly urged the Government to consider the opportunities created for young people by adopting a preventative spending model when setting education budgets. Support for Family Nurse Partnerships and commitment to a Reducing Reoffending Change Fund are exciting developments.
The aspiration of the Government to care for the earth, through prioritising a move towards a low carbon economy, is to be welcomed. More investment in renewable energy so we can play our part in global efforts to properly steward resources is also welcome.
The announcement of £3million for new work to tackle sectarianism is also an important way the Government can enhance and complement the work that we are doing in Churches and communities across Scotland.
Poverty is a real problem for a huge proportion of people in Scotland, yet this crucial statement about the future direction of Government funding for the next three years does not address it seriously as a problem.
For instance, talking about growing Scotland’s transport infrastructure through supporting a new Forth bridge and the Aberdeen bypass does little to tackle the growing carbon emissions from the transport sector.
In 2010 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland called on the Government to recognise the destructive impact of inequality on the wellbeing of all, the disproportionate impact of cuts in services on the poorest, and therefore to poverty proof all budget decisions.
The focus of budgets and spending reviews should not just be a list of financial announcements but demonstrating a deep understanding that the economy is there to serve society, and not the other way around.