Scottish emergency budget review delayed until after November 17 following UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's statement
It comes after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the mid-term fiscal plan had been pushed back from Halloween and upgraded to a full autumn statement.
As a result of the UK statement, now expected on November 17, potentially involving announcements on areas such as in-year spending, the Scottish emergency budget review (EBR) will take place after the Chancellor’s remarks, Scottish Government officials have said.
A spokesperson told The Scotsman: “We would need to follow whatever the date for that [UK Government statement] date was, so it’s going to be after the 17th [of November].”
The EBR was first announced in early September as taking place two weeks after a ‘fiscal event’ in Westminster. It is intended to identify non-urgent areas of funding that could be redirected to help individuals and businesses during the cost-of-living crisis.
It is understood the reason for the delay is due to concerns the budget review would potentially become immediately irrelevant as a result of the contents of the UK statement.
In September, Mr Swinney announced £500 million of spending cuts and warned these were “just the beginning of the hard choices” that would need to be made.
He has since convened an expert advisory group to help with the Government’s approach to spending cuts and response to former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget, much of which was reversed by Mr Hunt last week.
Asked if any spending allocations would be impacted this year by the delays, an official spokesperson for the First Minister said: “All of this is incredibly difficult and it’s not being made any easier by the fact that we have continual delays.
"I can well understand on one level, given the complete boorach [mess or shambles] the UK Government has made of everything in the last eight weeks, why the Chancellor wants to have time to look at things.
"The reality is, in terms of the timescales for our purposes for both in-year and looking towards next year’s budget, it does not make things easier.”
Around £40 billion is needed to be saved by the Treasury in London due to the cost of increased borrowing caused by the unfunded tax cuts in the mini-budget. This is likely to have a knock-on effect on the Scottish financial position. The reversal of much of the mini-budget also means the amount of consequentials coming to the Scottish Government has dropped significantly.
The Scottish Government’s budget is due to be outlined on December 15, potentially just a month after a series of spending cuts are announced to the public.
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