Given that under the devolved settlement the UK Tory Chancellor has more influence on the size of Scotland’s Budget than Scottish Ministers, I suggested to Committee colleagues that we invite Mr Sunak to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee this autumn.
Committee members unanimously agreed.
No UK Chancellor has ever given evidence to a Holyrood Committee. We have specifically invited Mr Sunak to provide evidence on issues affecting the Scottish Budget and the Fiscal Framework Review as part of the 2023/24 Pre-Budget Scrutiny.
The Fiscal Framework sets out the funding arrangements that help determine the size of the Scottish Budget each year. The UK Government and HM Treasury, in particular, have a significant role in this.
While the Committee is able to hold the SNP Government to account for the revenues raised from taxes devolved to Scotland, the block grant remains a matter for the UK Government, whose policies also impact the response to inflation.
The Committee invites Mr Sunak to give evidence on these matters as well as more generally on the key challenges facing the UK economy.
Whether Mr Sunak will indeed make the time to come to Scotland and be questioned remains to be seen. However, especially given the multitude of economic challenges faced by Scotland and the UK, an appearance by the Chancellor at Holyrood’s Finance Committee would not go amiss if his government wants to be seen to be paying more than lip service to the people of Scotland.