Draft Budget 2019/20


About the Inquiry

The Committee considered its focus for scrutiny of the Scottish Government Budget 2019/20 and agreed the focus, the key questions to be addressed and the approach on 26 June.

In the period between June 2018 and February 2019 the Committee agreed to focus its Budget scrutiny on preventative spending and the carbon impact of the capital budget.

In addition the Committee also agreed to:

  • Analyse the Financial Memorandum for the Climate Change Bill (the indirect costs and the public sector’s contribution to the total expenditure required across the public and private sectors), and
  • Consider options to improve the scrutiny process of climate change spend within the wider review of scrutiny of climate change, over the rest of the parliamentary session. 

In scrutinising the Scottish Government Budget the key questions parliamentary committees are encouraged to focus on are:

  • What is spending aiming to achieve?
  • What is spending achieving?
  • What is the impact on outcomes?
  • Should there be a change in spending/priorities?

Approach to Scrutiny

The Committee will explore how the budget within the portfolio of the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform contributes to national outcomes across the Scottish Government. This will include evidence on how spending in some areas can potentially reduce future spend elsewhere. 

The Committee is looking to identify the most cost effective preventative investments in the ECCLR portfolio and those that contribute most to achieving the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes, particularly on health and the economy:

  • We are healthy and active; and
  • We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.

The key information sought by the Committee is:

  • Evidence of what spending in the ECCLR portfolio is achieving in terms of the National Outcomes (via the relevant national indicators); and
  • Estimated costs of programmes and evidence of cost savings on other parts of the budget.

The Committee will also consider the carbon impact of the capital budget. The Committee has asked SPICe (the parliamentary research service) to prepare a briefing on this and the Committee is also seeking views on:

  • The carbon impact of the capital budget to support the delivery of public infrastructure in Scotland, including spending on buildings, roads, rail and digital.

The Committee also agreed that SPICe should prepare a Budget briefing (overview of the Medium Term Financial Strategy) and recent trends in spending for ECCLR public bodies and research.


The Committee canvassed the views of young people and others on the impact of preventative spend.

The Committee also agreed to write to the Scottish Government and to the ECCLR public bodies seeking information on the main items their budget buys and the evidence they have which demonstrates how their spending over recent years has contributed to relevant national outcomes and preventative spending.

The Committee took evidence over two meetings, on preventative spend and on the carbon impact of the capital budget.


A call for views ran from 3 July to 10 August and the oral evidence sessions took place in early September, enabling the Committee to report before the October recess. Engagement with the Cabinet Secretary would take place in December.

Read evidence received by the Committee


Issue call for views    Tuesday 3 July
Letters to Scottish Government/public bodies  Tuesday 3 July
Close call for views  Friday 10 August
Evidence session - Panel 1  Tuesday 4 September
Evidence session - Panel 2  Tuesday 11 September
Consider report  Tuesday 25 September
Agree final report  Tuesday 2 October
 Publish report  Monday 8 October
 Evidence session- Cabinet Secretary  December 2018
 Consider Budget as laid  December 2018
 Committee Amendments  January/February 2019


The Committee took evidence from VisitScotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, NHS Health Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage on 4 September.

The Committee took evidence from Scottish Water and WWF Scotland on 11 September.  The Committee received follow up evidence from Business Stream in relation to questions on the organisation's budget and carbon.


The Committee wrote to several stakeholders as part of the call for views seeking detail of their budgets and preventative spending.

Scottish Natural Heritage

Cairgorm National Park

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Scottish Water

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Zero Waste Scotland

The Committee also wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on assessment of the contribution of the ECCLR portfolio budget to the National Outcomes.

On 8 October the Committee received correspondence from the Chair of the Equalities Budgetary Advisory Group on equalities and the budget

On 18 January the Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on the draft budget. Read the letters:

and the joint response:


On 10 October 2018, the Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform regarding its pre budget scrutiny:

On 19 December 2018 the Cabinet Secretary responded to the Committee's letter:

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