Timetable will provide additional time for Parliament to scrutinise proposals.
The Draft Budget 2018/19 will be published on 14 December, subject to parliamentary approval, as outlined today in a letter to the Finance and Constitution Committee from Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.
In keeping with last year’s process, the Budget Bill timetable has been amended to provide additional time for Parliament to scrutinise the budget proposals, which Mr Mackay says demonstrates good governance and partnership working.
Welcoming the recommendations of the Budget Process Review Group, Mr Mackay agreed that publishing the Scottish Budget prior to the UK Budget would be ‘counter-productive’ due to the levels of economic and fiscal uncertainty.
As such, Mr Mackay has sought agreement that the Scottish Budget be published three working weeks after the Chancellor delivers the UK Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017.
Mr Mackay said:
“The Budget Process Review Group has been a positive example of Parliament, Government and Civic Scotland working together in the interests of the people of Scotland, and I welcome the recommendations they’ve put forward.
“The report confirms it would be counter-productive to publish the Scottish Budget ahead of the UK Autumn Budget, due to the impact that it may have on Scotland’s public finances. Today I have written to Finance Committee to agree a timetable for our 2018-19 Draft Budget and begin implementing the review group recommendations.
“I propose setting out our Budget plans on 14 December – three weeks after the Chancellor is due to deliver the Autumn Budget – which is in keeping with previous years.
“I look forward to working with the Finance Committee and the wider Parliament as we seek to secure a Budget that will deliver for all of Scotland.”
A new Budget process will be adopted as of the 2019-20 Draft Budget. In line with the Budget Process Review Group recommendations, it will offer Parliament a year round approach to Budget scrutiny within the framework as set out in the Review Group report:
· Full Year Approach: a broader process in which committees have the flexibility to incorporate budget scrutiny including public engagement into their work prior to the publication of firm and detailed spending proposals;
· Continuous cycle: scrutiny should be continuous with an emphasis on developing an understanding of the impact of budgetary decisions over a number of years including budgetary trends;
· Output / outcome focused: scrutiny should also be evaluative with an emphasis on what budgets have achieved and aim to achieve over the long term, including scrutiny of equalities outcomes;
· Fiscal Responsibility: scrutiny should have a long term outlook and focus more on prioritisation, addressing fiscal constraints and the impact of increasing demand for public services; and
· Interdependent: scrutiny should focus more on the interdependent nature of many of the policies which the budget is seeking to deliver.