Fiona Duncan – response to today’s Scottish Budget 2022-23

If Scotland wants to #KeepThePromise made following the Independent Care Review and ensure that every child in Scotland grows up loved, safe and respected, then there must be an open and honest conversation about how, where, and when money is spent.

Money alone can’t buy better outcomes. Scotland currently spends almost £1bn per year on a care “system” that too often fails infants, children, young people, and families.  A further £875m is then spent picking up the pieces of that failing “system”, as too often care experienced people carry the cost through their lives.

£50m is a welcome first step towards the commitment to invest £500m in the lifetime of this parliament on whole family wellbeing.  But it is a small step, and this initial investment must be invested wisely to ensure the remaining £450m is spent to best effect by 2026 – and begin to realise Scottish Government’s ambition that, by 2030, at least 5% of all community health and social care spending will be in preventative family support.  The whole family wellbeing fund must also be used to genuinely change the system, no matter how hard or disruptive it is.

Everyone knows that we need to have a different kind of conversation about how we shift investment in public services. This will involve difficult decisions. And it has to involve an open and engaging discussion about our investment choices – in the longer term, can we really afford to continue to invest in the NHS in the way we currently are? At some point, we need to accept that spending ever-increasing amounts of public money on the NHS is not the same as investing in the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Politicians of all parties made manifesto commitments to #KeepThePromise to Scotland’s care experienced people – part of keeping that promise is having a mature debate about how Scotland invests public money for a better future for its children and families.”