Mr Mackay owes it to members of committees to allow us to do our jobs effectively. He is a former council leader, so he should know that people need time to consider things such as budgets. They also need a heads-up on what is likely to happen. It was quite reasonable for the Finance Committee to ask for scenario planning information. Mr Mackay initially said that he would help, but then he performed a screeching U-turn.
I say to Derek Mackay that he is not there to be a roadblock; he is there to help smooth the way. I once had high hopes for him—particularly when, as a council leader, he agreed to speak to a meeting of Conservative councillors at my invitation. However, those high hopes are dwindling. It comes to something when an SNP committee convener tells a minister of his own party that his behaviour is “unacceptable”. Derek Mackay would do well to heed Bruce Crawford’s words. Derek Mackay should reflect on the matter and, when he has done so, he should conclude that, as I said at the start, proper scrutiny is essential and two weeks does not allow for that.
Scotland used to be a world leader when it came to the time that is allocated for budget scrutiny, second only to the United States. Derek Mackay is taking us to the bottom of the pile and that is simply not good enough.