Stinging report on financial planning
SNP ‘attacking Westminster to cover its own failings’
Derek Mackay: accused of a political rant (pic: Terry Murden)
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has been accused of attacking the Westminster government as a way of covering for the Scottish government’s own failings on the economy.
The Scottish Tories seized on an analysis by the Fraser of Allander Institute saying anyone expecting Mr Mackay’s medium term financial strategy to provide a proper outlook for the country’s finances would be “disappointed”.
In an online piece published today, the Strathclyde University body said the SNP announcement – which also revealed a £1 billion black hole in future budgets – spent too much time making political attacks on Westminster.
It argued: “Why so much time was spent looking back over a decade – as opposed to the outlook for Scotland – was surprising.” The SNP’s “lack of analytical assessment about the economic outlook” was “striking”, the organisation said.
While Brexit was mentioned, there were no proposals on how to deal with associated risks. The experts added: “You might also think that a medium term financial strategy document might detail how it will manage such a hit to revenues. But it doesn’t.”
The stinging analysis concludes: “Yes the environment is uncertain. But the whole point of scenario analysis is that it lets you explore the implication of different outcomes. In an uncertain world the case for such analysis is surely stronger. This document does little to add clarity with regard to the medium term financial risks and opportunities facing the Scottish budget.”
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “This is a withering attack on the SNP government’s ability to run Scotland’s economy now and in the future.
“Derek Mackay was supposed to set out in detail the future prospects for the country’s finances, and how he intended to mitigate risks and rise to the many challenges ahead.
“Instead, he went on a political rant about the UK Government, in an effort to hide his own administration’s failings.
“Voters need to know what the SNP government is going to do to address the £1 billion black hole in future budgets, deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit, and make Scotland a prosperous place to live and work.
“Instead, they’ve been landed with a finance secretary who just wants to play political games.”