Scottish Fiscal Commission consultation
26 Mar 2015 12:34 PM
Plan for Scottish Fiscal Commission to be given statutory powers
Scotland’s independent fiscal commission will be established on a statutory basis, under plans put to consultation yesterday by the Scottish Government.
Established last summer ahead of the introduction of Scotland’s first new taxes for 300 years, the Scottish Fiscal Commission was initially set up to scrutinise the government’s devolved tax forecasts and already plays an important role in Scotland’s fiscal framework.
Delivering on a commitment made in this year’s Programme for Government, a consultation has yesterday been launched to give the body permanent statutory status, safeguard its independence and expand its initial scope as further powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney made the announcement at the annual conference in Clydebank of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, where the Finance Secretary was awarded an honorary membership.
Mr Swinney said yesterday:
“We set up the Scottish Fiscal Commission last summer as an independent body to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s forecasts of devolved tax income. We committed in our Programme for Government to putting the Commission on a statutory footing, to ensure it could be permanent, transparent and accountable.
“Today I am announcing a consultation on that plan, as well as proposals to go even further.
“At present the Commission has an initial remit proportionate to the modest tax and borrowing powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament in the Scotland Act 2012. Next week those specifically Scottish taxes begin to be collected for the first time, as Revenue Scotland goes live on April 1st.
“But it is important to note that the Smith Commission recommended devolving various other fiscal powers.
“In addition to seeking views on our plans to give the Commission a statutory basis, we are also consulting on proposals for the Commission to take on additional functions to reflect those further powers which are due to be devolved to Scotland after the UK election.
“The consultation goes live this morning and I hope as many people as possible contribute.”
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the Scottish Government intends to introduce legislation to the Scottish Parliament in autumn 2015.
Notes To Editors
The consultation can be found here:http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/03/1668
The independent Scottish Fiscal Commission was established to review government forecasts of receipts from devolved taxes. Expert commissioners examine Scottish Government tax revenue forecasts for the two devolved Scottish taxes, which will transfer to Scotland in April 2015 under powers in the Scotland Act 2012: Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax. The Commission also has a role in scrutinising the economic factors which underpin forecast receipts from non-domestic rates.