Statement deferred

Swinney halts review amid fiscal plan doubts

John Swinney: turmoil

UPDATE 26 Oct: John Swinney, the interim Scottish Finance Secretary, has announced a delay to the Scottish Government’s emergency budget review amid talk that the Chancellor’s fiscal plan may be pushed back.

Mr Swinney had planned to announce his plans this week but it has been postponed until next week at the earliest.

It is the second postponement following the decision to delay the original planned statement which had been due to follow the mini-budget on 23 September.

Confirmation that Jeremy Hunt will remain as Chancellor in Rishi Sunak’s government means he will deliver the medium term fiscal plan, scheduled for next Monday, though there is talk that it too will be delayed, though it is likely it will still take place before the Bank of England meets to fix interest rates on 3 November.

In September, Mr Swinney announced £500m of spending cuts and warned these were “just the beginning of the hard choices” that will need to be made.

He set up an expert working group to look at further measures that were expected to be announced at Holyrood this week.

Responding to a written request, Mr Swinney said that following the economic turmoil, “the EBR [emergency budget review] will be deferred until after the planned fiscal statement from the new UK administration currently scheduled for October 31.”

He said that delaying the statement will allow the review to take account of updated independent forecasts of the UK economy from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

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