Equality Statement Scottish Draft Budget 2014-2015

Equality Statement Scottish Draft Budget 2014-2015
Scottish Government

The Equality Budget Statement offers an equality impact assessment of proposed spending plans by ministerial portfolio

Executive Summary

This Equality Statement accompanies the Draft Budget for 2014-15. It is the Scottish Government’s fifth equality statement and it reflects our continuing commitment to achieving a fairer Scotland in which there are opportunities for all to flourish.

This document provides the equality context for our budget and outlines our assessment of the equality impacts of proposed spending plans. It demonstrates that equality considerations are an integral part of our budgetary process and to the drive for improved outcomes, economic recovery and sustainable public services.

The economic challenges we face remain significant and we expect, on the current UK Government projections, that there will be budget reductions imposed on Scotland until at least 2017-18. In this context it is all the more important that we make decisions in the interests of the people of Scotland and that these are informed and fair. As such, this budget focuses on accelerating economic growth and supporting job creation. It supports our commitment to a Social Wage and measures to mitigate, where we can, the impacts of austerity and welfare reform. It reflects the priority we attach to shifting practice and spend to prevention and early intervention and to involving people in shaping their lives and the communities in which they live. It gives emphasis to the empowerment of communities and the creation of a fairer Scotland.

We acknowledge that this is a difficult time for our people and communities and that some groups are feeling the impact of the current situation more acutely. This is particularly so as a result of the UK welfare reform programme which is proving devastating for many in Scotland and for disabled people and women in particular.

As I said in last year’s equality statement, I recognise the danger that in a period of austerity, existing inequalities can deepen and progress towards improved outcomes can be undermined. We must resist that. We have an ambition for an equal and just Scotland. 

That is why we maintain our strong commitment to equality across all that we do; why equality is at the heart of our transformational approach to public service reform and integral to our economic recovery; and why we continue to invest in work on equality, the third sector and communities. This Draft Budget speaks to that agenda. Our challenge in the period ahead is to keep up the pace of change and continue to drive hard for improvement.