Robison ready to pass the buck - John McLellan

If the SNP-Green Scottish budget has scored one success, it’s uniting anti-poverty charities and big business in condemnation of finance secretary Shona Robison’s choices.
Finance secretary Shona RobisonFinance secretary Shona Robison
Finance secretary Shona Robison

This year’s programme, voted through on Tuesday by the SNP-Green majority in Holyrood, includes a £200 million cut to the affordable housing programme the same week as homelessness reached a record high. With cuts to planning and building standards budgets, it’s a disaster.

Last month, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Scotland Associate Director Chris Birt described the budget as baffling. “To slice a quarter from the budget in the face of both the immediate and longer-term issues facing the housing sector … is surely something that will have to be reversed during the Parliament’s scrutiny of the budget,” he said. It didn’t happen.

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Housebuilders were predictably disappointed, and Homes for Scotland’s policy director Fionna Kell spoke for them all in saying the budget would, “deepen housing inequality across the country and risks losing the significant socio-economic benefits that come through increased home building”.

The charities agreed: “This deeply disappointing and disjointed budget risks bringing to a screeching halt, if anything, throwing into reverse, action to tackle poverty, said Oxfam Scotland’s Jamie Livingstone.

“The Scottish Government’s strategies for housing and homelessness are failing and any attempt to say otherwise is starting to feel like an attempt to gaslight the Scottish public,” said Shelter Scotland Director Alison Watson.

Never one to accept responsibility readily, Ms Robison says it all hinges on chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s UK budget on March 6. The buck is already lined up for passing.