John Swinney: Scotland may need own chancellor of the exchequer

John Swinneys role covers spending in many departments. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
John Swinneys role covers spending in many departments. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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The creation of a Scottish chancellor of the exchequer may be needed to meet the demands of the new tax powers coming to Holyrood, John Swinney has said.

Mr Swinney currently has a wide remit as Finance Secretary, including spending, covering areas such as the economy, public pay and quangoes including Scottish Water.

But as well as spending on his own portfolio, he also allocates spending levels for other ministers and now has responsibility for Holyrood’s growing tax powers.

He said there is “undoubtedly an argument” for a ministerial role in Scotland solely in charge of the public purse strings. He said: “The responsibilities in this respect will be growing very dramatically in the course of the next few years.”

He added: “What has changed, and what I thought was quite evident in the budget process in the last couple of years, was the growing proportion of time and budget preparation that is now taken on tax-related issues.

“It opens up a very significant new set of issues and the deployment of responsibilities within government must be considered within that backdrop into the bargain.”

He said a Scottish chancellor is “an interesting prospect worthy of further consideration given the nature of how our responsibilities are ­changing”.