“As these are devolved matters, the Scottish Government receives this funding but is under no obligation to match the policies announced by Westminster. For example, the retail, hospitality and leisure relief is a repeat of the measure for 2023-24, which the Scottish Government decided not to pass on and spent elsewhere. So this is one to watch out for at next month’s Scottish Budget.”
“A core resource block grant in 2022/23 that is 8% higher than pre-pandemic might sound generous, but to deal with the pandemic’s legacy and underlying public services pressures it is anything but. In this context, Kate Forbes’ third budget may well be her most challenging.”
“..further Covid-related allocations are designed to support the economy during ongoing restrictions – and these provide the Scottish Government with further resources during 2021/22. In years beyond that, this was a budget that aims to rebuild the economy by leveraging investment, whilst raising more from tax and tightening the screw on public services spending. But there is no role in the future economic vision for welfare policy or public services spending.”
The resignation of finance secretary Derek Mackay overshadowed the fourth budget of this parliamentary term, which has led to a healthy increase in the resources available to the Scottish Government. How does it propose to spend this money?
Fraser of Allander identifies key points
Nicola Sturgeon wants to measure Scotland’s economic success by wellbeing/quality of life, not just GDP. But where’s the beef? The Scottish Budget in February will be the test of what lies behind the rhetoric.
The Scottish Budget was due on December 12, #GE2019 day, but will almost certainly be pulled until after the UK Budget is presented early next year on the back of wild spending promises. Even pre-Brexit the Scottish outlook is more than unusually uncertain…
MSPs on finance committee debate the Scottish Budget: ‘Coming in the midst of the parliament’s 20th anniversary celebrations, this was not a good advert for parliamentary effectiveness in holding the government to account’.
‘But what can be said with certainty, if these forecasts are correct, is that the amount of money that the government had planned to have at their disposal – all other factors remaining equal – will be much smaller’.
‘The Labour councillor’s passion resonates all the more because it is non party political. Voting for cuts to vital services, which will hurt those who most need them, ‘should give none of us any joy or pleasure…from any side of the chamber’.
‘Fiscal responsibility is the flip side of fiscal autonomy. Those who argue for more money from the Scottish Government without proposing new powers for local government to raise own revenue are also playing a blame game.’ First in a series on centralisation/local autonomy