Draft Budget 2017-18 (Timetable)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th October 2016.

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Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

I am afraid that I do not have time.

That was also covered in the letter from the Finance Committee, which stated:

“the resulting economic and fiscal uncertainty arising from the Brexit vote means that there is now an arguable case for delaying the publication of the draft budget until then.”

It therefore makes sense, in my view, to defer finalising and publishing our spending plans until we have the additional clarity that the autumn statement should bring.

Having set out the factors that will influence the timing of the Scottish Government’s draft budget this year, I today confirm my intention to publish the draft budget 2017-18 on 15 December 2016. That is in line with the aim that I set out at the committee on 7 September: that I am committed to producing a budget as quickly as possible after the chancellor’s autumn statement, and that we will work incredibly hard to produce the draft budget in those three weeks after the autumn statement.

I am acutely aware of the potential impact that that will have on budget scrutiny in the traditional sense, so I was heartened to read the convener’s acknowledgement that a number of committees have already adapted their approach to budget scrutiny ahead of any draft budget publication to ensure that effective scrutiny continues to take place.

Back in 1999, when the written agreement was designed, the Scottish budget was funded almost entirely from the block grant from Westminster, and only around 10 per cent of the budget was funded from taxation. The increased scale and complexity of the fiscal responsibilities that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are adopting is hugely significant.