New Scottish Fiscal Commission will examine tax forecasts


An independent Scottish Fiscal Commission whose role will be to scrutinise government forecasts of tax receipts is to be established, Finance Secretary John Swinney is set to announce today.
When giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee, the Cabinet Secretary will outline his plans to appoint expert commissioners to scrutinise Scottish Government tax revenue forecasts for the two new Scottish taxes, which have been legislated for under powers devolved by the Scotland Act 2012: Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax.

The Commission will also have a role in scrutinising the economic factors which underpin forecast receipts from non-domestic rates.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission will come into operation this summer and provide assurance over tax forecasts ahead of the introduction of the 2015-16 Draft Scottish Budget in the autumn.

Mr Swinney will invite the Scottish Parliament to approve his proposed appointments to the independent Commission over the coming weeks.

Speaking ahead of the Finance Committee, Mr Swinney said:

“The creation of a Scottish Fiscal Commission is another important milestone in the journey to enhance Scotland’s fiscal powers.

“There is widespread international recognition that independent fiscal commissions play a vital role within a country’s fiscal framework, and from this summer Scotland will have its own Commission to support the exercise of the tax powers devolved under the Scotland Act 2012.

“The Scottish Fiscal Commission will strengthen the credibility of the Scottish Government’s tax forecasts and provide the Parliament and the public with assurance over the reasonableness and integrity of the forecasts which appear in our budget documents from this autumn.

“It is essential to the effectiveness of the Commission that it is independent of the Scottish Government, and is seen to be so, and I very much welcome the role which the Scottish Parliament will play in appointing members to the Commission.”