Scottish draft budget to be delayed

Scottish draft budget to be delayed

The Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016-17 will not be published until after the UK government’s spending review in late November, it emerged today.

The draft budget - which is usually published in September - has been pushed back due to uncertainty over the block grant for Scotland, which will be affected by the outcome of the UK spending review.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said the spending review is being published later than expected, but it is already “clear that we face significant further austerity over the coming years”.

He added: “Scottish ministers will publish their forward spending plans following the outcome of the UK Spending Review.”

The delay means the Scottish budget could be fast-tracked through the Scottish Parliament in December or January, prompting protests from opposition politicians that it would undermine the process of scrutinising the budget.

The budget delay will have also have an impact on local authorities, who typically agree their own local budgets in February.

A spokesperson for local government body COSLA said: “We anticipate figures in late December or early January based on timescales for previous spending reviews, which in terms of financial planning and decision making is not the ideal situation.”

In a statement, the UK Treasury said: “Our long term plan has created the conditions under which Scotland as part of the UK is thriving.

“All parts of the UK now need to play their part in helping to eliminate the deficit, run a surplus and ensure Britain lives within its means.

“The spending review, which will be set out on 25 November, is the next step in this plan.”

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