Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Tuesday) supported the Scottish Government’s budget, welcoming a number of concessions secured by the Scottish Liberal Democrats since the Finance Secretary first presented the Budget Bill to parliament.
As a result, the budget now includes an extra £120million to support mental health services, an additional £60million in education funding to help with smaller class sizes, more support to help businesses to bounce back and £5million more for agri-environment projects.
After years of campaigning, Mr McArthur also welcomed the additional funding made available for Orkney’s internal ferry services, but insisted this now needs to be a long-term commitment from the Scottish Government and backed by support for new vessels.
Commenting on the budget, Mr McArthur said:
“Over the last year, along with my Scottish Liberal Democrat colleagues, I have sought to hold the government to account over its handling of this crisis. I have done so, however, constructively and with the interests of supporting constituents and our community at the forefront.
“That approach has remained the same during this year’s budget negotiations and I’m pleased that we’ve secured funding for a number of areas that will be important for our country’s recovery. A significant increase in investment for mental health services, for example, delivers on a key ask from the Scottish Liberal Democrats as we look to address our country’s mental health crisis.
“The additional funding for Orkney’s internal ferry services is also very welcome after years of broken promises and Orkney being short changed. It’s vital, though, that this is not just a one-off pre-election gesture but part of a long term commitment by government that also includes addressing the urgent need for new vessels.
“Meantime, I’m glad that cross-party agreement could be reached on this budget at a time when politicians from all parties should be absolutely focused on putting the recovery first.”