This blog post contains the policy context chapter of our economic commentary, published today. The latest economic commentary can be found here.
Budget 2020/21 will be the fourth of five to be set in this parliament. Normally of course it would have been published by now – the Scottish Government initially planned to publish it on 12 December – and the process of scrutiny and debate on the proposals contained within it would have begun.
It was inevitable that the announcement of a UK General Election on 12 December resulted in the postponement of the Scottish budget. The outlook for the Scottish budget – and the viability and outcomes of tax and spending policies – is heavily dependent on UK Government policy decisions.
A Scottish budget published in advance of knowing the complexion of the UK Government would have had to be underpinned by a range of caveats and uncertainties, and could have been subject to substantial revision once the UK Government’s plans became known with greater certainty.
The fact that the General Election result last week was so decisive has in a blink lifted much of the uncertainty that it existed, at least in the short run (i.e. for 2020/21).Continue reading