“Why the Scottish Government used out of date income tax revenue statistics. For context, on Table 12 of the Scottish Government’s Spending Review, it states that Scottish Income Tax will raise £13,671 million in 2022-23. However, the Scottish Fiscal Commission’s May 2022 fiscal outlook estimates that Scottish Income Tax will raise £14,386 million in 2022-23. The figure in the Spending Review appears to be the SFC’s previous estimate from December 2021. Could I ask why this out of date figure is used for 2022-23 when the SFC’s more up to date figures are used for subsequent years, and can I confirm that the out of date figure is used in subsequent calculations in Table 12 of the Spending Review (such as budget adjustments, total Scottish Government fiscal resource etc.).”
The 2022-23 Income Tax figures used in the Resource Spending Review document are correct and the same as those used for the 2022-23 Scottish Budget based on the Scottish Government’s standard budgeting practice. You can read more about how funding for the Scottish Budget is determined here. Key points relevant to your request are also included below for ease of reference.
Income tax funding for the Scottish Budget is set in advance of the financial year, based on the Scottish Fiscal Commission’s forecast of Scottish revenue and the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast, which is used to set the Block Grant Agreement. This is usually in the December prior to the start of the relevant financial year – e.g. December 2021 for the 2022-23 financial year. The funding available is set based on the latest revenue forecasts available at the point the Budget is set.
Spending plans for 2022-23 are therefore based on the £13,671m tax revenue forecast by the SFC in December 2021. Although the SFC updated their income tax forecasts in May 2022, these do not affect the funding or spending plans of the Scottish Government for financial years that have already commenced. These forecasts remain fixed until outturn data are released, which tend to be around 16 months after the financial year.
An adjustment is then calculated, to align funding with outturn information, called an ‘income tax reconciliation’. This reconciliation will be applied to the following Scottish Budget. Because of the timing of outturn information, income tax reconciliations are applied to Budgets three years after the revenue was collected.
Any errors in the SFC’s December 2021 forecast of Income Tax revenue will therefore be accounted for when HMRC publish final outturn statistics reporting the actual amount of Scottish Income Tax collected in 2022-23. These will be published in Summer 2024. Any difference between the SFC’s December 2021 forecast and the final outturn will be accounted for by a reconciliation applied to the Scottish Budget for the 2025-26 financial year.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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