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12 November 2020
'Most important Scottish budget since devolution' set for 28 January, Kate Forbes announces

Anna Moffat

'Most important Scottish budget since devolution' set for 28 January, Kate Forbes announces

The Scottish Government’s budget will be publish on 28 January 2021, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced.

Forbes said it would be “the most important budget since devolution,” following the UK Government’s decision to postpone its Autumn budget.

That means the budget would be drawn up before the UK Government will have announced its tax and spend decisions.

Forbes confirmed the date in a letter to the convener of Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution committee.

She said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review later this month would provide the “provisional and partial” for her funding decisions.

Forbes said: “Coming amidst an unprecedented global pandemic, the forthcoming Scottish Budget will be one of the most important since devolution.

“It is my task to prioritise our resources as effectively as possible to drive the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) while also managing the ongoing impact of the virus.

“The Chancellor’s decision to delay the UK Autumn Budget until next year causes significant difficulties for the Scottish Budget process. Although we expect to receive some funding information from the UK Spending Review on 25 November, the absence of a UK Autumn Budget means we will have to make decisions based on partial and provisional information, with no indication of potential changes to UK tax policies.

“In these circumstances, and to allow us to take account of the emerging position on any EU exit deal and also the evolving situation with COVID-19, I believe it is necessary to publish the Scottish Budget 2021-22 in early 2021, rather than later this year. 

“The timing of the Scottish Budget must also provide sufficient time for parliamentary scrutiny, so we have liaised closely with the Finance and Constitution Committee over the date I have announced today.”

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