Pre-budget scrutiny 2020-21


About the Inquiry


The Parliament has agreed a new process for budget scrutiny based on the recommendations of the Budget Process Review Group.  The Group which consisted of a range of external experts as well as Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government officials published its final report on 30 June 2017  

The budget process should have the following four core objectives –

  • To have a greater influence on the formulation of the budget;
  • To improve transparency and raise public understanding and awareness of the budget;
  • To respond effectively to new fiscal and wider policy challenges; and
  • To lead to better outputs and outcomes as measured against benchmarks and stated objectives.

Budget scrutiny should be carried out within the following framework –

  • Full Year Approach: a broader process in which committees have the flexibility to incorporate budget scrutiny including public engagement into their work prior to the publication of firm and detailed spending proposals;
  • Continuous cycle: scrutiny should be continuous with an emphasis on developing an understanding of the impact of budgetary decisions over a number of years including budgetary trends;
  • Output / outcome focused: scrutiny should also be evaluative with an emphasis on what budgets have achieved and aim to achieve over the long term, including scrutiny of equalities outcomes;
  • Fiscal Responsibility: scrutiny should have a long term outlook and focus more on prioritisation, addressing fiscal constraints and the impact of increasing demand for public services; and
  • Interdependent: scrutiny should focus more on the interdependent nature of many of the policies which the budget is seeking to deliver.

The Committee circulated guidance to the subject committees with further information on the new process and the requirement to produce pre-budget reports at least 6 weeks prior to the Scottish Government publishing the Budget.  

Read the guidance to Committees below.

Budget guidance June 2019 (216 KB PDF)


Oral evidence

The Committee held the following oral evidence sessions—

  • 11 September 2019 - Scottish Fiscal Commission
  • 2 October 2019 - Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work

In addition, by adopting the new full year approach to scrutiny, the Committee’s pre-budget scutiny will cover scrutiny work already undertaken on the following areas —

  • Earnings in Scotland
  • Additional Dwelling Supplement
  • Air Departure Tax
  • VAT assignation
  • Policy spillover provisions within the Fiscal Framework




The Committee published its Pre-budget report on 12 November 2019

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