Finance committee publishes budget report

09/12/2008

The Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee today published its report on the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget.

The Finance Committee is responsible for the overall scrutiny of the budget and its conclusions and recommendations include that:

  • The committee welcomes the early indications from the Scottish Government on the acceleration of capital spending.
  • Alongside the six-point plan for economic recovery and bringing forward spending on capital projects, the Scottish Government should ensure that Skills Development Scotland works to identify and fill areas of shortage and that Partnerships Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) teams are adequately resourced to meet any increase in unemployment.
  • The Scottish Government should consider what further support can be given to organisations providing advice on money, debt and benefits.
  • Although inflation is now falling, the Scottish Government should identify any new policy development which cannot be funded or developed because of the impact inflation rises have had on budgets in the last 12 months.
  • Linking spending to outcomes is complex but crucial and the Scottish Government should undertake further work in this area, reporting progress to the committee.

Committee convener Andrew Welsh said: “The economic outlook has changed significantly since last year’s spending review and indeed, even since this year’s Draft Budget was published. It is against this backdrop that the Finance Committee has been scrutinising the Scottish Government’s spending proposals.

"The committee welcomes the commitment to bring forward further money to fund capital projects in light of the Pre-Budget Report. We have made a number of recommendations where we believe further investment could help the Scottish economy.

"We also note there is likely to be further pressures on the budget in 2010-11 and are asking the Scottish Government to look at its options for spending in the medium to long term and to come forward with proposals.”

Parliament will debate the committee’s report on Wednesday 17 December.

Background
The Draft Budget sets out the Scottish Government’s spending plans for the £34 billion which comprises its budget for 2009-10.  The Finance Committee is responsible for the overall scrutiny of the Budget and for co-ordinating responses from the Parliament’s subject committees on the spending plans for their respective portfolios.

Following the Finance Committee’s debate on its report in December, the Scottish Government will publish the annual Budget Bill in January 2009 which will legislate for spending in the financial year 2009-10.