UK Government delay causes “significant difficulties”.
The Scottish Government’s budget will be published on 28 January 2021, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced.
It follows the UK Government’s decision to postpone its Autumn Budget until an unspecified date in the new year.
Ms Forbes said:
“Coming amidst an unprecedented global pandemic, the forthcoming Scottish Budget will be one of the most important since devolution.
“It is my task to prioritise our resources as effectively as possible to drive the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) while also managing the ongoing impact of the virus.
“The Chancellor’s decision to delay the UK Autumn Budget until next year causes significant difficulties for the Scottish Budget process. Although we expect to receive some funding information from the UK Spending Review on 25 November, the absence of a UK Autumn Budget means we will have to make decisions based on partial and provisional information, with no indication of potential changes to UK tax policies.
“In these circumstances, and to allow us to take account of the emerging position on any EU exit deal and also the evolving situation with COVID-19, I believe it is necessary to publish the Scottish Budget 2021-22 in early 2021, rather than later this year.
“The timing of the Scottish Budget must also provide sufficient time for parliamentary scrutiny, so we have liaised closely with the Finance and Constitution Committee over the date I have announced today.”
Ms Forbes’ letter to the Finance and Constitution Committee is attached.