Budget statement allocates almost £200m for ‘active travel’

A TOTAL of almost £200m of Scottish Government funding has been earmarked for ‘active travel’ (cycling, walking and wheeling) infrastructure.

The money was announced earlier today by the government’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP.

Presenting the Scottish Government’s Budget statement, 2023-24, Mr Swinney said (here): “As the Climate Change Committee recently highlighted, decarbonising transport remains one of the key challenges we face in reaching Net Zero.

“We will support these efforts by working with the private sector to extend Scotland’s Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure with investment of £60 million, expenditure of £1.4 billion to maintain, operate and decarbonise our rail infrastructure, invest nearly £200 million in active and sustainable travel and provide £15 million as part of our Fair Fares Review for a six-month pilot, removing peak time rail fares as a way of making rail travel more affordable and attractive to travellers.”

The Budget was most notable for an increase in top rates of tax, with Mr Swinney saying: “I have decided to increase the Higher and Top Rates of tax by one pence each to 42 pence and 47 pence, respectively.

“As a result, we are asking all those earning more than £43,662 to pay an extra penny in income tax and I want to be clear, that extra penny is being raised for a specific purpose. We have taken the decision to enable us to exceed the health resource Barnett consequentials from the UK Government with substantial additional investment in the National Health Service, an investment that will benefit us all. It is in short an extra penny to enable spending on patient care in our NHS.”

He added that, on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, there will be no changes to the main residential and non-residential rates and bands next year.

But: “Legislation will be introduced today to increase the rate of the Additional Dwelling Supplement, from four per cent to six per cent, raising much-needed additional revenue whilst protecting opportunities for first-time buyers. This change will apply with effect from December 16 to address any potential for forestalling, with a transitional provision in place.”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland