The report Serving Scotland's Needs is published annually and sets out the key aims and objectives of Scottish Office Departments and Agencies and the expenditure planned to achieve those objectives. The report also records the performance of those bodies against previously published targets.
Mr Dewar said:
'This report shows how public expenditure in Scotland will be focused on the Government's main priorities: improving standards in education and health, preparing for devolution, tackling Scotland's housing challenges and reducing social exclusion.
Spending on Health will be at an all time record high of #4.6 billion in 1998-99, including the extra #44.5 million announced in the Budget.
We are spending over #150 million more than the previous Government had planned to spend on the NHS in Scotland in 1998- 99. This will provide health care resources of some #898 per person.
This additional funding will enable the NHS to reduce waiting times and continue to make progress on the three main health priorities of heart disease and strokes, mental health and cancer.
The Government's commitment to Education is demonstrated by new investment to raise standards and support childcare. An increase in funding of #9m for Pre-School Education, bringing the total to #76 million, will help to deliver the Government's pledge to provide a place for every child in the pre-school year.
An extra #157m is available in the financial year 1998/99 including the early intervention programme, support for schools in the drive to raise standards, spend to save investments and additional capital expenditure on buildings and IT.
Additional capital resources of #26.7m have already been earmarked for schools for each year in this Parliament.
We have taken hard decisions on student finance, but the effect of changes to student support arrangements is that Universities and Colleges in Scotland will benefit to the tune of at least #17 million in 1998-99, whilst the Further Education sector will have access to an additional #6.4 million.
Housing will get a boost from outside the block of #56 million over 1997-98 and 1998-99 from the Capital Receipts Initiative. In addition, #9 million has been allocated over 1997-98 and 1998-99 to the Empty Homes Initiative, the purpose of which is to encourage local authorities to work with their partners to bring empty properties back into use for people in housing need.
#9 million has been made available in 1997-98 and 1998-99 for the Rough Sleepers Initiative.
Local authorities have been invited to take the lead in assessing the problem of rough sleeping and developing projects to help rough sleepers; including the provision of accommodation, support, good quality information, advice, outreach and advocacy services.
An additional #10 million in total has been provided for CalMac and HIAL in 1998-99 to help sustain lifeline services in the Highlands and Islands.
In addition, as recently announced in the Budget, #4.5 million will be made available in 1998-99 for innovative rural transport measures to help address the problem of exclusion from transport services in more remote areas.
'We are off to a great start - delivering on the peoples' priorities in Scotland - health, education, housing - laying the foundations for Scotland's future. A modern Scotland, led by a Government committed to encouraging opportunity and fairness and promoting employment and investment.'
1. The report Serving Scotland's Needs: Departments of the Secretary of State and the Forestry Commission - the Government's Expenditure Plans for 1998-99 (Cm 3914) is published jointly by The Scottish Office and HM Treasury.
2. The report, illustrated with tables and charts, gives further breakdown of the spending figures announced by the Secretary of State on 3 December 1997.
3. Exceptionally, this year's departmental report covers only one forward year (1998-99), instead of the normal three forward years. The Government will announce its decisions on the spending objectives and allocations for the later years when its Comprehensive Spending Review has been completed.
4. Copies of the report are available from The Stationery Office, Cm3914, price #19.50. Media can obtain copies by dialling the number below.
5. It should be noted that there have been a number of adjustments to the presentation of the figures shown in the main tables of this year's report which affect any attempts at making direct comparisons with last year's report. The principal changes in comparison with the presentation given in Serving Scotland's Needs 1997 are:
figures for the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive (SPTE) are now shown under the roads and transport programme rather than under central government support to local authorities current expenditure (except in 1996-97 where it is still included in the local authorities line);
from 1998-99 Departments will take on responsibility from Property Repayment Services (PRS) for the buildings which the Government owns and occupies. They will no longer pay rents but instead will pay capital charges on the value of the property. This has resulted in a reduction in planned expenditure for 1998-99 in the Law, order and protective services programme, relating to the Scottish Courts estate, and in the Other public services programme, relating to The Scottish Office, GRO(S) and SRO estates;
the profile of the sale of the student loan book has been changed between 1997-98 and 1998-99. This does not affect the profile of the funds available to the education programme in these two years, but simply the sourcing of these funds.
In all of the above cases the changes are simply technical and have no impact on the overall spending power of the budget for which the secretary of state is responsible.