John Swinney announces ‘doubling’ of Scottish digital budget

The Scottish Government has brought together a number of current streams feeding into its digital strategy, leading to an apparent doubling of its commitment.

Scottish finance secretary John Swinney yesterday announced his draft budget for 2016-17 to the Scottish Parliament.

Dedicated funding for the digital strategy will jump from £50.9m in 2015-16 to £116m the next year, although it appears the comprises a shuffling of resources, rather than any additional commitments.

The budget document said: “The budget supports the delivery of Scotland’s integrated digital strategy which covers digital infrastructure, digital participation, digital public services and the digital economy.

“In 2016-17, the budget has been consolidated from a number of previously distinct budget lines to reflect this integrated strategy.”

Related content

Socitm Scotland 2015: Scotland leads information revolution
KPMG post Spending Review webinar

The document committed the government to extending digital applications in public services, increase the use of shared services, secure value from procurement and use assets to reduce overlap between public services.

“The digital agenda will both produce savings and improve the quality of our services,” the document said.

Some of the digital cash will also go towards a new target of providing access to superfast broadband for 95% of properties by the end of 2017.

Other parts will support implementation of the ‘Scotland’s Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services’ document, produced by the Scottish Government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in 2012.

The government also wants to increase digital participation among excluded groups in partnership with charities and businesses.

Without releasing more details, the budget document added that the government would “continue the roll out of as the single point of access to public sector information and services for people and businesses in Scotland.”

It also pledged to “support the Digital Transformation Service to support the central government sector to formulate and deliver programmes of work to transform public services from a user perspective and realise the benefits of the application of digital technology.”

COSLA gave a frosty reception to the draft budget announcement, with president David O’Neill calling it “totally unacceptable”.

He added: “Make no mistake this is a budget that has been made in Scotland and imposed on Scottish Local Government.  The 3.5 per cent cut (£350 Million) coming to us next year cannot be laid at

Westminster’s door this time around as we all know that the Scottish Government got a cash increase.  

“A cut of 3.5 per cent is catastrophic for jobs and services within Scottish Local Government – because the harsh reality is that it actually translates to real job cuts that hit real families, in real communities throughout Scotland.  Everyone will be hurt by this.”

Colin Marrs

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *