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MSPs criticise budget date

By David Porter

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North-east MSPs have criticised the UK Governments decision not to announce the UK budget until March branding it “contempt for Scotland”.

Delaying the budget until March 11 means the Scottish Government will not know how much funding is available, and cannot give budgets to other public services, the NHS, and local authorities.

It also leaves the Scottish Parliament with only days, instead of months, to scrutinise and debate the budget.

Scottish councils legally have to set local tax rates by March 11.

The north east MSPs have raised concerns that without knowledge of their Holyrood budget this task will be impossible and the Scottish Government can only work on estimates without knowing what the block grant will be.

Aberdeenshire East MSP, Gillian Martin said: “The Tories have a long track record of ignoring the needs of the people of Scotland, but delaying the UK budget until March – just weeks before the new financial year is nothing short of contempt for Scotland and devolution.

“Having wrecked their own parliamentary processes, they want to damage ours too.

“Under the current arrangements, we need a UK budget, before we can set the Scottish budget.

"Without it we are operating with both hands tied behind our back, making it impossible to plan with any certainty.

"Their recklessness is going to impact Scottish life at every level.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson said: “Boris Johnson clearly doesn’t understand Scotland, devolution or simple good governance.

“This unnecessary uncertainty will put a substantial strain on Scotland’s NHS, local authorities and all public services.

"The UK Government was ready to present a budget in early November, so there is no good reason to delay it for two months after the election.

“Chaos and confusion are the hallmarks of the UK Government and this is just another example of the Tories disregard for Scotland.”

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