Draft Budget 2014-15

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th December 2013.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Yes, my colleagues did sign up to that; it is dead easy to do it. I am simply saying, “Here’s the challenge for the parliamentary committees: suggest the mechanism, I will consider it and then we will have a debate about it.”

Mr Chisholm and Ms Marra raised a point about the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s remarks to the Welfare Reform Committee. If I am paraphrasing him correctly, I think the chief secretary said that what the Scottish Government does with the block grant is a matter for the Scottish Government. That is technically correct—I am free to give local government as much money as I want—but if I want to compensate individuals for the implications of the bedroom tax, the law of the United Kingdom says that I have to do that through discretionary housing payments, for which there is a ceiling of £20 million. That is the point of law that I have to observe.