FM's first day

Forecast and tax plans delayed as Swinney takes office

John Swinney at Bute House with his wife Elizabeth (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

A series of key economic documents due to be published at the end of the month have been delayed on the day new First Minister John Swinney was voted into office.

They include the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and updated capital spending plans which were supposed to be published on 30 May and would have informed the debate on Mr Swinney’s pro-growth policies.

A draft tax strategy was also scheduled to be published, alongside an infrastructure investment plan annual report.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has now been instructed to pause its forecasts.

A written answer on the documents from Finance Secretary Shona Robison stated: “As a result of the resignation of the previous First Minister these will need to be postponed.”

Ms Robison added: “We recognise the vital role these documents play in allowing this Parliament to conduct pre-Budget scrutiny and will communicate a new date for publication as soon as possible.”

Scottish Labour Finance spokesperson Michael Marra said the delay was another example of the “fiscal ineptitude of this SNP Government”.

He said: “The public must have confidence that the Government is spending their money wisely – but under the SNP, Scotland’s public finances have spiralled yet further out of control.

“It’s no wonder that we are staring down a £1.9 billion black hole in the public finances by 2028-29 due to the SNP’s incompetence.”

However, it was generally seen as a procedural matter forced on the government by the change of First Minister.

Mr Swinney will be officially sworn in at the Court of Session on Wednesday, where he will take the Official Oath in front of the Lord President of the Court of Session and other senior judges. 

Earlier in parliament he pledged to reduce child poverty, grow the economy, improve the NHS and tackle the climate crisis.

He will also begin reshuffling his cabinet, with attention focused on the role he will give Kate Forbes, the former Finance Secretary who decided not to stand against him for the leadership.

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