The Scottish Budget is the SNP’s opportunity to deliver solutions for Scotland’s major problems, Scottish Labour said today.

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Budget, Scottish Labour reiterated their demands for an NHS Frontline Fund to reduce pressure on A&E and a resilience fund, to deal with the risk to jobs posed by the oil crisis.

Official figures published today show that¬†under the SNP Government in Edinburgh, fewer than half of Scotland’s health boards met the target of A&E patients being seen within four hours. The percentage of patients being treated in A&E in four hours or less dropped from 93.5% in December 2013 to just 89.9% in December 2014.

Scottish Labour would use £100 million in Barnett consequentials to establish a Frontline Fund.

An NHS Frontline Fund would allow hospitals facing extra pressure to have planned surgery at the weekends and diagnostics in the evening.

With the price of oil threatening thousands of jobs in the North East and across Scotland, Scottish Labour would also use £10 million from Barnett consequentials to set up a resilience fund, to protect local economies threatened by a jobs crisis.

Scottish Labour Finance Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:

“Scotland in 2015 is facing huge challenges, but arguably the biggest two are in our NHS and the falling price of oil.

“Our NHS is facing unrelenting pressure. NHS staff who have dedicated their careers to saving lives and providing care are horrendously overstretched. ¬†This week we have seen confirmation of what we already knew -; our A&E services under the SNP are trailing behind England.

“Scottish Labour have a solution, we have identified £100 million in the budget for a Frontline Fund. It will reduce pressure on frontline staff and deliver better care for patients. John Swinney must bring an amended budget to parliament tomorrow which will stand up for our NHS.”

On the resilience fund Jackie Baillie said:

“The price of oil represents the biggest threat to jobs since Ravenscraig. This issue must move beyond finger pointing and petty politics between the Scottish and UK Governments and protect jobs in Scotland.

“John Swinney must use the Barnett bonus to establish a resilience fund in the Scottish Budget. He has the opportunity to do the right thing and protect workers in the North East and across Scotland

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