The policy cycle, like everything else, has been somewhat uncertain over the last couple of years. First Brexit and then the coronavirus pandemic have delayed the UK Budget, having a knock-on effect here in Scotland.
Before the Christmas break, however, the Scottish policy-cycle in Scotland featured something familiar, the first pre-Christmas Scottish Budget (2022-2023) since 2018.
While the timing was familiar, many other elements were not.
The Budget was the first developed in collaboration with the Scottish Green Party following the Bute House Agreement in August 2021. Alongside the Budget, the Cabinet Secretary also published a Spending Review Framework, the Scottish Government’s first multi-year Resource Spending Review since 2011.
For policy colleagues, the next few months will feel familiar but also different.
With the support of the Scottish Greens, who are now in Government, this Budget will also have all the support it needs to be agreed at the Stage 1 and Stage 3 debates- the 27th of January and 10th of February, respectively. Instead, the focus will be on Committees as MSPs weigh up Scottish Government plans during Stage 2 (1 February). Despite the likelihood that the Budget will be passed, parliamentary scrutiny is no less important. Amendments can and will be made.
For the first time in many years colleagues will also have the opportunity to engage with the Scottish Government’s Resource Spending Review plans. The Spending Review will enable multi-year spending plans of three to four-years. Currently, the Spending Review framework does not specifically state that these plans will apply to the voluntary sector. Following multi-year funding commitments for the sector during the Scottish Government Scottish Budget debate by Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, SCVO have sought clarity. The Resource Spending Review Framework consultation closes on the 27th of March.
For more information on Scottish Budget commitments impact on the voluntary sector and analysis of these commitments read SCVO’s summary.
A recording of our Budget webinar covering the high-level implications of the budget for the Scottish economy, the sector, and the communities we work with is available on YouTube.