Forbes and Treasury agree basis of fiscal talks
Kate Forbes: ‘the Framework has been found wanting’
Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said she had agreed the basis of talks with the Treasury over Scotland’s tax regime.
After a meeting with new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke, the UK and Scottish governments commissioned an independent report that will review Holyrood’s Fiscal Framework.
Ms Forbes, who is keen to gain more flexibility such as greater borrowing powers, said the report will look only at the Block Grant Adjustments, but the review should have a wider scope and involve input from parliamentary committees and wider stakeholders.
Mr Clarke said: “We’re continuing to work together to tackle the big issues we face as a United Kingdom, including climate change, levelling up opportunities and supporting jobs.”
The Chief Secretary also chaired a quadrilateral meeting that included the Cabinet Secretary and finance ministers from Wales and Northern Ireland where they discussed Net Zero, creating jobs across the UK and recovering from the pandemic.
Ms Forbes more borrowing powers when she meets the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke in London today.
Scotland’s devolved fiscal arrangements were last set out in 2016 and involve a complex formula of Westminster funding and Holyrood’s own powers over income tax and welfare.
Before the meeting Ms Forbes said: “We have faced unprecedented economic and fiscal upheaval as a consequence of the pandemic and Brexit. As a result, Scotland’s Fiscal Framework has been thoroughly tested and, in some areas, found wanting.
“I believe that the forthcoming Framework review offers a much needed opportunity to evaluate and scrutinise the current arrangements.
“It is important to consider a wide range of issues to ensure that the Scottish Government and Parliament have the necessary powers and flexibilities to support sound financial planning and manage risk.
“This approach is supported by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee and the Social Justice and Social Security Committee.
“The review process itself should also be broad in scope, drawing on views beyond government, if we are to properly capture current issues and ensure the framework is fit for purpose in future.
“I hope we are able to make progress today on jointly commissioning the independent report which will inform the review.”