Extra cash for housing, education and green energy has been announced by the Scottish Finance Secretary.
John Swinney unveiled his spending plans for the coming year to Holyrood and insisted that his budget for 2013-14 is one for jobs and growth.
Despite facing a "particularly challenging" financial settlement from Westminster, Mr Swinney said: "I have today announced investment in infrastructure, the green economy, skills and employability of around one quarter of a billion pounds. In this budget I confirm that this Government will do all it can to focus its resources on driving forward Scotland's economy."
As expected, Mr Swinney signalled an end to the two-year public sector pay freeze for most workers, although those earning the highest wages will not see any increase. Mr Swinney said he will bring in a "modest increase" in pay of 1% for most Government and NHS workers in 2013-14. The priority will be to ensure workers earning less than £21,000 a year receive a higher increase, while those earning more than £80,000 a year will get no pay rise.
To help the construction industry, Mr Swinney announced an "immediate stimulus" of more than £40 million for "affordable housing", with the cash being spent this autumn and in the coming financial year.
He also pledged £80 million for the Schools for the Future programme, saying that more new schools will be built quicker than planned. He explained that he authorised the financing of more rapid implementation of the programme by bringing forward £80 million from future years into the current spending review period. Meanwhile, £30 million will be provided this year and next for energy efficiency measures, focusing on helping people improve home insulation as well as increasing energy efficiency in the public sector.
After being attacked by the opposition over funding for further education, Mr Swinney pledged a further £17 million for colleges and student support. He also said he is setting aside money to establish an energy skills academy to train people for work in areas such as the oil and gas sector and the renewable energy sector. Action will also be taken to help 18 to 24-year-olds who have been out of work for between three and nine months. Mr Swinney added that £15 million will be matched by funding from Europe and employers to create up to 10,000 jobs for young people in the private sector.
In the wake of sporting success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and in the run-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Mr Swinney announced an extra £1 million to support Scotland's elite athletes next year. An additional £6 million is being spent this year and next to improve cycling infrastructure, a move that Mr Swinney said would help tackle climate change as well as improve health.
To help the environment, a further £2.5 million will be available next year for hybrid buses such as those which combine diesel engines with electric motors, resulting in fewer emissions. Tourism gets £1.5 million for marketing, to be carried out by VisitScotland this year. An extra £1 million will be provided to help maintain historic buildings next year.
The Finance Secretary also pledged funding to continue with the Government's "key commitments" such as the council tax freeze, free prescriptions, free university education for Scottish students and maintaining the 1,000 extra police officers. Mr Swinney also pledged £23 million in 2013-14 to "mitigate the cut to council tax benefit from the UK Government".