Economy and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has announced to Holyrood that the Scottish government’s budget will now take place on 6th February, more than a month before Chancellor Sajid Javid outlines his tax and spending proposals for the UK, on March 11th.
The decision by the Scottish Government to present their spending and taxation proposals before the UK budget takes place, has been prompted by the unexpectedly late date announced by Westminster, and the issues that it is claimed this raises. Legally, Scottish local authorities must have their own budgets and council tax levels set by the same 11th March date, meaning that emergency legislation would be required at Holyrood to facilitate any delay. Setting out the proposals early in February, according to Secretary Mackay, avoids such a complication and provides the local authorities with both clarity and planning time. Bringing the Scottish budget date forward also allows Holyrood sufficient opportunity to debate the proposals ahead of them gaining royal assent, and then being in place for any tax provisions to be effective by 1st April.
Over the coming weeks, M&S Accountancy and Taxation Ltd will be keeping a keen eye on budgetary developments at both Holyrood and Westminster. And we shall be posting articles and comment about what the relevant content means for our current clients and potential new ones.