John Swinney told MPs that the Scottish and UK governments are getting close to the “end of the road” on reaching a deal over new funding arrangements for Scotland, in a hardening of the language of SNP ministers on the issue.
Mr Swinney reiterated a 12 February deadline for a deal with Westminster and said that “all of the issues are out on the table”, but warned time was running out due to the looming Scottish Parliament election.
His remarks came after Nicola Sturgeon said there was “some distance to travel” before a deal could be reached over a fiscal framework to determine how much cash the Scottish Parliament will get from the UK Government once MSPs have new powers over tax-raising.
However, Mr Swinney, today Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee at a meeting convened in Perth, that “we are not yet at the end of the road”, but are “getting close” to it.
Mr Swinney, added: “We seek a fiscal framework which gives the Scottish government the capability to create a fair and prosperous Scotland, and the ability to use the powers we have in an effective way.
“This has to be about genuine autonomy and choice.
“All of the issues are out on the table - they’ve been well aired within the joint exchequer committee. All the detail is essentially out there - we need to conclude what agreement is possible.”