The Finance secretary has announced a draft budget for 2013 / 2014. John Swinney has said the actions the Scottish Government will take this autumn will provide further investment in construction, skills and the green economy.
John Swinney pledged £180m over two years for construction, skills and employment and a green economic stimulus.
He confirmed a more rapid delivery of the Schools for the Future programme worth £80m and an initiative to create up to 10,000 job opportunities for young Scots.
The Budget keeps the Government's commitments to a council tax freeze, police numbers, no tuition fees, free prescriptions, concessionary travel, and NHS budget protection.
He confirmed a 1% increase for most Government and NHS employees, more support for the low paid and no compulsory redundancies.
"Today I am announcing a Scottish budget for jobs and growth. In difficult economic times this Government is doing everything within its limited power to stimulate Scotland's economy, to invest in our young people, protect households, and support front line services.
"To support the construction industry and inject growth into the economy we will provide an immediate stimulus to the construction industry of £40 million through investment in affordable housing.
– John Swinney
"I am also determined to ensure our young people get the best education in the best possible schools. So to further assist the construction sector we will increase the number of schools being built from 55 to 67 bringing forward £80 million investment through NPD.
"A Green Investment Package of £30m over the next three years will help home owners improve energy efficiency, cutting bills and tackling fuel poverty whilst along with investment in low carbon transport supporting our growth industries and helping to meet our climate change targets."
Scotland's bracing itself for cuts as Finance Minister John Swinney prepares to set out his budget to MSPs this afternoon. He says he'll prioritise jobs and growth. He claims he's facing the toughest financial settlement from Westminster since devolution. Kathryn Samson sent this report.
Borders Chamber of Commerce director Bruce Simpson says the budget must do more to help rural areas. He says there needs to be an emphasis on infrastructure, particularly railway links, roads and communication, through providing better broadband.
John Swinney is expected to announce further tax relief for small businesses in today's Scottish Budget. Ken Wilkinson runs Borders Mobility in Selkirk and says it is vital that taxes are lowered for local shops.