John Downie, Director of Public Affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said: “Today’s Scottish Government Budget was a landmark one, with the Scottish Government quite radically overhauling the tax system. We welcome the introduction of a more progressive system and the raising of additional revenue – although there is room to go further in the future. However, we must be careful that this divergence from the UK wide system does not have negative implications for Gift Aid, which is a valuable source of income for so many charities across the country.

“We welcome the decision to remove the public sector pay cap, which will help people whose living standards have been squeezed over the past decade. However the budget fails to recognise the many third sector workers delivering public services who are not even being paid the living wage. We hope between now and passing the budget, the Cabinet Secretary will ensure third sector workers will also benefit from a similar commitment.

“The Government’s flagship commitment to delivering 100% superfast broadband coverage is highly ambitious, but the full benefits of this will not be realised unless broadband packages are made more affordable and the most marginalised in our society have the skills to realise the benefits it can bring, in terms of reducing poverty, improving health and social exclusion.”