Scottish budget plans to be confirmed on 6 February 2020

16 January 2020

The Scottish government will release its draft budget plans on 6 February 2020. Although Sajid Javid’s UK budget is not being held until 11 March, the Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, confirmed it would have been “impossible” to wait for the UK budget because councils and public services need confirmation in relation to funding levels.

A spokesman for the Treasury explained that it would work alongside Scottish ministers to give the fiscal information required. The intention is that the budget bill will pass through Scottish parliament within the space of a matter of weeks, to ensure that royal assent is granted with enough time for new tax arrangements to be implemented at the start of the new tax year.

Ordinarily, Mr Mckay would wait for the details of the UK budget to be released prior to announcing what his own plans are but commented:

"In these exceptional circumstances, created by the UK government, it is vital we give local authorities and public services clarity on their budgets. That is why we have made the decision to publish our budget in February which will allow local authorities to set their budgets and council tax before the legal deadline of 11 March.

I look forward to publishing a budget that will help tackle the global climate emergency, reduce child poverty and boost the economy."

 He added that the timing of the UK budget was "completely unacceptable and has shown a disregard for devolution" but the UK government has maintained throughout that it can provide Scottish ministers with sufficient relevant information which would allow them to schedule a budget in a timeframe convenient for them.

The BBC confirmed that a spokesman for UK government said:

"Nothing stops the Scottish Parliament from passing their budget before the UK budget. We are working with the Scottish government as part of an agreed process to provide the information they need to prepare their budget.

At the spending round, we announced that the Scottish government's block grant will increase by £1.2bn next year."


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