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Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

The important point for the Scottish Conservative Party to understand is that it is the Tories who have continuously proposed—I am not specifically referring to the general election—tax cuts for the rich in society over the course of continuous budgets, which would lead to cuts in spending for our public services. Our progressive tax policy has raised revenues for us to invest in our public services.

On the cancellation of the UK Government’s budget, the UK Government could have gone earlier if it had so desired, but the Prime Minister’s track record appears to be that he could not get anything through Westminster, never mind his having the chaos of a budget failing as well. The UK Government’s track record is that it has been incompetent and chaotic, and that may well have led to a chaotic budget process as well.

On the general election, the key point is that we are where we are. There is nothing to prevent the UK Government from proceeding as quickly as possible. I understand that its budget was ready and good to go, although I do not know whether that is true. Any incoming UK Government, whoever it may be, should proceed with a budget as quickly as possible so that the Scottish Government can properly consider the matters that are devolved to us and set out our tax and spending proposals, and the Scottish Parliament can properly scrutinise those proposals. The UK Government must not leave it to the last minute, with all the negative consequences that that would have for the people of Scotland. That is why I am encouraging the Treasury, in the circumstances, to take the action that I have set out.