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by Kirsteen Paterson
14 November 2023
MSPs cancel Westminster visit because Treasury will not meet them

Jeremy Hunt has been Chancellor of the Exchequer since October 2022

MSPs cancel Westminster visit because Treasury will not meet them

MSPs have cancelled a visit to Westminster after the Treasury refused to meet them, it is claimed.

Holyrood's cross-party Finance and Public Administration Committee (FPAC), which scrutinises public spending, was scheduled to visit the UK Parliament later this month.

But the St Andrew's Day trip has been cancelled after key UK Government ministers, officials and MPs declined to see them.

The visit was to take place with the Interparliamentary Finance Committee Forum, in which MSPs work with members of the Welsh Senedd.

Approaches from Senedd members were also declined.

SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, convenor of the key Scottish Parliament committee, said clerks in Edinburgh and Cardiff had been trying to arrange the meetings since March.

And he expressed "disappointment" that the devolved parliaments "are simply not on Westminster's radar".

He commented: "Since March, clerks at both Holyrood and the Welsh Senedd have worked hard to secure meetings with Treasury ministers, MPs or officials to discuss areas of common interest.

"With few financial levers devolved to Holyrood, Westminster still controls 60 per cent of our funding. Engagement is therefore critical.

"It is therefore deeply disappointing that no such engagement will be forthcoming, even if FPAC travels to Westminster.

"Frustratingly, no Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever given evidence to a Holyrood committee. FPAC therefore invited Rishi Sunak in June of last year when he was Chancellor. We also invited his successors, Nadeem Zahawi, Kwasi Kwarteng and Jeremy Hunt. None replied, although Mr Hunt did respond to one communication through a subordinate minister.

"It seems that the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are simply not on Westminster’s radar."

A UK Government spokesperson said: "While we value the role of devolved legislature finance committees, the UK Government is accountable to the UK Parliament for its tax and spending decisions.

"We continue to engage with the Scottish and Welsh governments as part of the wider operation of their fiscal frameworks."

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