Scottish Budget 2023-2024: letters confirming date

Deputy First Minister letters to Scottish Parliament Finance Committee and Scottish Fiscal Commission confirming that the Scottish Budget will be published on 15 December 2022.

Letter to Scottish Parliament Finance and Public Administration Committee

To:  Daniel Johnson MSP, Deputy Convenor, Finance and Public Administration Committee, Scottish Parliament

From: Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Thank you for your letter of 4 October and for the Committee’s engagement yesterday on the Scottish Budget.

The Committee will be aware of the ongoing turmoil and uncertainty regarding the UK Government’s plans for its Autumn budget. The Scottish Government is not privy to those discussions despite the clear and obvious impact that this has on our ability to plan our 2023-24 Budget.

As I indicated to the Committee, it is essential to ensure that there is adequate time to prepare the Scottish Budget after the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts are published. As part of this Government’s prudent approach to budgeting and fiscal sustainability, we are committed to providing the highest quality information to the Scottish Fiscal Commission to assist in the development of its economic and fiscal forecasts. I also appreciate and support the need for effective parliamentary scrutiny of the Scottish Budget.

Taking the Committee’s view into consideration, I am content to support a joint proposal that the Scottish Budget be published on 15 December and I will write today to the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) to advise of this.

It is crucial for us to have a clear plan in place for Scotland’s Budget to provide certainty and reassurance, and collectively agreeing a date is welcome.

As it is becoming less clear if the UK Government will publish the OBR forecasts earlier than the originally announced date of 23 November, I must stress that this risks creating an exceptionally challenging timeframe in which to deliver the Scottish Budget.

In these uncertain times, we will need to be ready to adapt flexibly and prudently to ensure that Scotland’s interests are best protected.

As you will be aware, the SFC requires a minimum of 10 weeks to prepare for its forecasts and given the uncertainty and volatility of UK Government’s plans, we may need to revisit our plans if there are implications for this 10-week period.

I look forward to working with the Committee on the new Budget over the coming months and I have copied this letter for information to Professor Graeme Roy at the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

Letter to Scottish Fiscal Commission

To:  Professor Graeme Roy, Scottish Fiscal Commission

From: Deputy First Minister John Swinney

I am writing to provide the Commission with confirmation of when the Scottish Government intends to publish the Scottish Budget 2023-24, in accordance with our joint ‘Protocol for Engagement’.

There continues to be significant uncertainty of the UK Government’s Autumn fiscal plans, including the timing and scope of the next set of Office of Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) forecasts. It is important however for the Scottish Government to strategically plan for the introduction of the 2023-24 Scottish Budget. I am also mindful however, of our joint protocol that requires the Scottish Government to provide you with 10 weeks notification of a budget date. 

I can confirm that I intend to publish the 2023-24 Scottish Budget on 15 December 2022.

I have copied you into my letter, sent today to the Finance and Public Administration Committee for your information.  My officials will contact your own to discuss the timetabling for a 15 December Budget.  I very much look forward to working with you over the coming weeks and months.

I am copying this letter to the Convenor of the Finance and Public Administration Committee.

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