20 Nov for Scottish statement?
Mackay urged to declare as Chancellor fixes Budget date
Philip Hammond: wants to avoid Brexit clash
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Budget has been brought forward to 29 October so that it does not clash with crucial Brexit debates and decisions.
Key dates include 17-18 November when EU leaders may be in a position to declare their position on Britain’s withdrawal. The Prime Minister would then require parliamentary time to allow for further debate.
The Scottish Conservatives say fixing of date should force the SNP finance secretary Derek Mackay to bring his budget forward to mid-November to allow more time for parliamentary scrutiny.
If the same three-week period between Scottish and UK budgets was used as in previous years, then the Tories say the SNP should bring its budget to Holyrood on the 20 November.
This would allow more time for the budget to be debated and scrutinised, unlike last year when Holyrood went into recess shortly after the SNP’s spending plans were revealed.
Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “With Philip Hammond having announced his budget date, it means that Derek Mackay can let us know when he plans to announce the SNP’s spending plans.
“Three weeks is more than enough time to prepare his budget, which means he should be revealing his budget by mid-November.
“This would allow Parliament to have far more time to analyse his budget, as opposed in previous years when we’ve had barely any time to study it before recess.
“Any attempt from Derek Mackay to delay his budget beyond this date could only be seen as an attempt to try and avoid thorough parliamentary scrutiny.”