I KNOW when I talk about budgets and Budget Day most of my constituents roll their eyes - and often understandably so.

However, last week's Budget announcement was historic and more importantly reaffirmed the Scottish Government's priorities to help our most vulnerable and create a fairer and more ­prosperous society.

The Scottish Government's Budget was announced on Thursday, and with a clear focus on tackling inequality and making Scotland a more competitive country, it was a budget for fairness and opportunity.

It was a historic Budget, as it is the first time since 1706 that tax rates have been set in Scotland, for Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney announced for the first time the Scottish Government's proposals for the rates and bands of Scottish Landfill Tax and Land & Buildings Transaction Tax.

The Land & Buildings Transaction Tax, which will replace stamp duty, will be fairer to property buyers and people will not pay tax on properties costing less than £135,000, helping first-time buyers and those at the lower end of the housing market.

In fact, 90% of homebuyers will either pay less or be no worse off as a result of the changes we have made.

Those who may have to pay slightly more are those who can afford to.

It was also announced in the Budget that an extra £125million of support will be given to the housing sector. Housing investment will help boost the economy, tackle inequality and support Scotland' vibrant communities.

The Scottish Government's commitment to the NHS was demonstrated by an increase in spending on health of £256million, taking Scottish health spending to its highest level ever.

This increase will see frontline NHS budgets increasing by 2.2 per cent as well as an increase in funds to complete the New South Glasgow Hospitals project.

In Scotland the economy has been growing continuously for almost two years, and 2014 is forecast to be the strongest year of growth since the financial crisis began.

However, it is vital that everyone in Scotland benefits from this economic growth.

The budget will help tackle inequality and deliver a more prosperous and fair society by continuing the Scottish Government's social wage commitments including free prescriptions, concessionary travel, free personal care and importantly free education.

The Scottish Government will also be maintaining funding for the actions we are taking to mitigate the most harmful impacts of the UK Government's welfare reforms.

This week it was also announced that the Dutch company Abellio will take over the running of the ScotRail Franchise from First Group next April.

The new contract is great news for passengers and staff as it offers value for money and significant benefits for passengers, staff and taxpayers.

Abellio will also move its UK headquarters to Scotland, which will bring around 200 jobs here, and there will be a new Scottish training academy.