Ahead of John Swinney giving evidence to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee on the Scottish budget, Labour have called for him to be honest about the impact of SNP cuts.

The SNP plan to cut £500 million from local government in the budget. Cosla estimate this would result in 15,000 job losses.  Labour said the cuts to local services such as schools are short-sighted, and would hinder Scotland’s ability to give our young people the skills we need for the jobs of the future.

Scottish Labour also revealed that the SNP plan to cut the fuel poverty budget by 13%, a cut which has since been confirmed by the independent experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.  Despite this, the SNP Government denied any such cut is happening.

Scottish Labour Public Services spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:

“In Scotland we have the chance to reject austerity and present the real change which people across Scotland are crying out for. Instead the SNP Government plan to accept Tory austerity.

Today John Swinney should be honest about the impact his cuts will have on public services, like schools and social care.

It’s not credible for the First Minister to claim education is her top priority whilst simultaneously slashing local education budgets. This will have a devastating impact on our future economy if our young people are not equipped with the right skills.

We should be cutting the gap between the richest and the rest, not the budget for our schools.”

On the SNP’s denial about plans to cut the fuel poverty budget Jackie Baillie said:

“The last Labour led Scottish Government set an ambitious target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016.

Now the SNP plan to cut the budget for fuel poverty measures by £15 million. What’s worse is they are trying to deny it. That’s a shocking level of arrogance from a government who think they can just pull the wool over people’s eyes.

After nearly a decade in power and a majority in parliament there are no excuses for the SNP Government. John Swinney should be honest that he’s planning to cut the fuel poverty budget, and then spell out what that means for vulnerable people across Scotland.

Everybody in Scotland deserves a safe and warm home, and no one should have to choose between heating and eating. The SNP need to face up to the reality of their cuts.”