This afternoon’s debate has been helpful, constructive and useful.
Of course, Adam Tomkins cannot help himself—he has to add a bit of colour to the debate. I challenge some of what he said about the chancellor’s autumn statement presenting us with marginal budget challenges. That is not the impression that I get from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury or from the chancellor, who has spoken about a need to reset fiscal policy and about economic turbulence.
The current Tory chancellor has abandoned the economic policy of the Tory chancellor whom he replaced, and there is a great deal of consensus that the Brexit vote will have a profound impact on the UK economy and, of course, the Scottish economy. That is thanks to the party-political games that the Tories have been playing—look at the mess that they have left the UK economy in. There will have to be a response to that.
The Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee in the previous session left the Parliament wise advice about addressing legacy issues to do with wise use of forecasts and making decisions as close to the forecasts as possible. That information was helpful, which is why I immediately embarked on the transformation of our scrutiny processes, in recognition of the powers that we have, the increased complexity and the role that Parliament should have.
Of course the Parliament’s role should be respected. That is why we embarked on the joint working group, which has representation from the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government and well-respected external participants.