Finance Committee publishes Budget report


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

Read the Finance Committee's 1st Report, 2008: Stage 2 of the 2008-09 Budget Process

The Finance Committee is responsible for the overall scrutiny of the budget and its report states that

  • The Scottish Government should work with the Committee to review the presentation of information in the Draft Budget.
  • With the reduction in the ring fencing of funds to local government, Single Outcome Agreements are crucial and the Scottish Government should provide full details on what these Agreements are likely to cover and the reporting and review process that will be put in place. The Committee itself has made a number of recommendations to enhance any review process.
  • The target of 2% cash-releasing efficiency savings is challenging. The Committee will continue to scrutinise this and will be looking for robust baseline information.

The Committee’s report also called on the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to consider proposals to make additional funding available for increased levels of police recruitment and the implementation of business rates reductions.

Committee Convener, Andrew Welsh MSP said: “This UK Spending Review has given us the lowest percentage growth rate since the Scottish Parliament was established. We are also dealing with a new government, a new budget and a new relationship with local government. It is against this backdrop that the Finance Committee has been scrutinising the Scottish Government’s spending proposals.

“Concerns have been raised about the information available to committees and about the consequences of the Concordat with local authorities. The Committee recognises these concerns and also recognises that any new system needs time to bed down and so we intend to work with the Scottish Government to make improvements to the information.

“We also recognise that there are concerns about the reduction in ring-fencing and we believe that the nature and operation of Single Outcome Agreements between central and local government are crucial. So we have made a number of recommendations to ensure the proper tracking and monitoring of spending in this new landscape.”

The Stage 1 Debate on the annual Budget Bill will take place on Wednesday 23 January.


The Draft Budget sets out the Scottish Government’s spending plans for the £33 billion which comprises its budget for 2008-09. 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.

The Finance Committee normally holds its own debate in December. However, the UK Spending Review was delayed until October this year which meant that the Scottish Government could not publish its own budget documents until November. By publishing its report now rather than at the beginning of November, the Finance Committee has protected the timetable for scrutiny. Rather than having a separate debate, the Finance Committee’s report will be considered as part of the Stage 1 debate on the annual Budget Bill.