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by Staff Reporter
22 May 2024
'Unacceptable': Shona Robison rebuked for delay to Scottish Government strategy

Shona Robison | Alamy

'Unacceptable': Shona Robison rebuked for delay to Scottish Government strategy

A three-week delay to the publication of a key Scottish Government financial strategy is "unacceptable", Finance Secretary Shona Robison has been told.

The SNP administration's Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) was supposed to be published on 30 May but will be delayed until 20 June, with Robison saying this is due to the change of first minister.

The later date would recognise the need for new First Minister John Swinney "to take a view on critical policy issues and align the fiscal strategy with the government's wider approach", Robison said.

Now the Finance Committee has said it is "deeply disappointed at the significant delay".

In an official letter, committee convenor Kenneth Gibson MSP told Robison that while a "short delay might be required" for Swinney, "we do not accept that a three-week delay is justified".

While the committee and Scottish Government have a written agreement that the MTFS is published at least four weeks before summer recess, the new date means there will be just one week of parliamentary time left.

In a message to the committee, Robison said she had tried to "strike a balance" between the needs of ministers and the committee.

Gibson said "the right balance" has not been struck.

Calling for the publication to be brought forward to 12 June, he wrote: "The committee considers that the timeframe proposed is therefore unacceptable and would significantly undermine the ability of the Scottish Parliament’s committees to effectively perform our scrutiny role of Scotland’s public finances."

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