Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Scottish Budget prioritises £3.4 billion for justice [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Scottish Government on 19 December 2022.

Almost £3.4 billion will be invested across the justice system in 2023-24 to fund vital front-line services, provide continued support for victims and witnesses, and to tackle the causes of offending.

Underlining the Scottish Budget’s priority to support sustainable public services despite the cost-of-living crisis, the funding represents an increase of £165 million or a 5.8% increase on this year’s justice resource budget.

Recognising the crucial role Police Scotland officers and staff play keeping our communities safe, the service will receive substantial additional resource funding of £80 million in the next financial year, a 6.3% increase. Police capital funding has been maintained at £45.5 million for investment in assets including the estate, fleet and technology. This brings the policing budget to £1.45 billion for 2023-24.

Equal access to justice for all is a key priority for the Scottish Government, with an additional £3 million allocated in the budget to safeguard Legal Aid, and £3 million to strengthen access to Justice, to benefit deprived communities and vulnerable groups.

Funding of more than £42 million will be maintained to continue to reduce the backlog of court cases built up during the COVID-19 period and for community justice services, including alternatives to remand. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will receive a £10 million increase to support service delivery and the Scottish Prison Service gets an additional £29 million to support a modern and safe prison system.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“This Budget will support vital front-line services, provide support for victims and witnesses, and allow us to tackle the underlying drivers of offending.

“Our investment in policing has helped deliver historically low recorded crime rates, we have more police officers per head of population than England and Wales and new officers here start on significantly higher salaries that those in the rest of the UK.

“The further increase of £80 million to police budgets next year builds on this solid track record to keep our communities safe.

“In this difficult financial landscape it is prudent we bring absolute focus to our key priorities which is why this Budget also continues essential funding to provide emotional and practical support for victims, while safeguarding Legal Aid and equal access to justice both now and into the future.

“Across the whole justice sector, this Budget will support delivery of our transformative reforms in a low crime environment where people feel safe.”