The final countdown: Budget Bill debate moves to conclusion

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The next few weeks will see parliamentary chamber business focus on consideration and voting on public spending and income tax proposals for 2022-23. If these proposals are agreed, the Budget Bill, which sets public spending for next year, and the Scottish Rate Resolution, which sets income tax rates and bands for Scottish taxpayers, will be voted into law.

Firstly, chamber debate will focus on committees’ views on the Budget. On Wednesday 26 January, the Parliament will debate the committees’ pre-Budget scrutiny reports. This will allow an airing of the key recommendations made by committees in their pre-Budget scrutiny reports and the Scottish Government’s response to these.

On Thursday 27 January, the Parliament will debate and vote on the general principles of the 2022-23 Budget Bill at Stage 1. At this stage MSPs and Committees are able to make alternative revenue and spending proposals through “reasoned amendments” to the motion on the general principles.  

If the general principles of the Bill are agreed to, the Bill moves to Stage 2. This stage will be undertaken at the Finance and Public Administration Committee on Tuesday 1 February, before moving back to the chamber for a final ‘Stage 3’ vote the following week, beginning 7 February.

Only Ministers are able to amend the Budget Bill at Stages 2 and 3. Before the Stage 3 vote, MSPs will vote on the Government’s proposed income tax rates and bands for 2022-23. These underpin the spending plans, so must be agreed prior to the final Stage 3 Budget Bill consideration.

If the Bill is agreed, Royal Assent will follow in time for the new financial and tax year starting in April 2022.

Sets out the various forms of parliamentary debate to pass the Budget Bill.

Ross Burnside, Senior Researcher, Financial Scrutiny Unit