Scottish Fiscal Commission Act 2016

Document Number:2016 asp 17
 
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The Bill for this Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed by the Parliament on 10 th March 2016 and received Royal Assent on 14 April 2016

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish the Scottish Fiscal Commission and to provide for its functions.

Scottish Fiscal Commission

1 Establishment

(1) The Scottish Fiscal Commission (in Gaelic, Coimisean Fiosgail na h-Alba) is established.

(2) In this Act, it is referred to as “the Commission”.

Functions

2 Forecasts and assessments

(1) It is the duty of the Commission to prepare forecasts and assessments to inform the Scottish budget.

(2) In particular, the Commission must on at least 2 occasions for each financial year prepare reports—

(a) containing its 5-year forecasts of receipts from—

(i) the devolved taxes,

(ii) non-domestic rates, and

(iii) income tax attributable to a Scottish rate resolution, and

(b) setting out its assessment of the reasonableness of the Scottish Ministers’ projections as to their borrowing requirements.

(3) Reports prepared under subsection (2) must, in relation to each forecast and assessment, include an explanation of—

(a) the methodology used by the Commission, and

(b) the factors which have been taken into account including, in particular—

(i) the assumptions which the Commission made, and

(ii) the risks which it considered to be relevant.

(4) The Commission may from time to time prepare reports—

(a) containing its forecasts, assumptions or projections in relation to such fiscal factors as it considers appropriate, or

(b) setting out its assessment of the reasonableness of the Scottish Ministers’ forecasts, assumptions or projections in relation to such fiscal factors as it considers appropriate.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) , a “fiscal factor” is anything which the Scottish Ministers use to ascertain the amount of resources likely to be available for the purposes of sections 1 to 3 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.

(6) Reports prepared under this section may include such other information relating to the forecasts, assumptions, projections or assessments being made as the Commission considers appropriate.

(7) Where a policy of the Scottish Ministers is relevant to the Commission’s performance of its functions under this section, the Commission—

(a) must have regard to the policy, but

(b) may not consider what the effect of any alternative policy would be.

3 Meaning of terms used in section 2

(1) This section defines terms used in section 2.

(2)“5-year forecast”, in relation to a report prepared under section 2(2) , means a forecast in respect of the financial year for which the report is prepared and each of the 4 subsequent financial years.

(3)“Devolved taxes” is to be construed in accordance with section 80 A(4) of the Scotland Act 1998.

(4)“Non-domestic rates” means non-domestic rates levied under section 7 B(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975.

(5)“Scottish rate resolution” is to be construed in accordance with section 80 C(1) of the Scotland Act 1998.

4 Review of forecasting accuracy

(1) The Commission must prepare reports for each financial year containing an assessment of the accuracy of the forecasts prepared by it under section 2(2)(a).

(2) Reports prepared under this section may include such other information relating to the assessment being made as the Commission considers appropriate.

5 Reports

(1) The Commission must send—

(a) a report prepared under section 2(2) to the Scottish Ministers in sufficient time for them to use the report to prepare the draft Scottish budget for the subsequent financial year, and

(b) another report prepared under section 2(2) to the Scottish Ministers in sufficient time for them to use the report to prepare a Bill for a Budget Act for that year.

(2) The Commission must lay before the Scottish Parliament—

(a) a report prepared under section 2(2) on the same day as that on which the Scottish Ministers lay before the Parliament the draft Scottish budget for the subsequent financial year, and

(b) another report prepared under section 2(2) on the same day as that on which a member of the Scottish Government introduces a Bill for a Budget Act in the Parliament for that year.

(3) The Commission must lay any other report prepared under section 2(2) or a report prepared under section 2(4) or 4 before the Scottish Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the report is prepared.

(4) Before laying a report prepared under section 2 or 4 before the Scottish Parliament, the Commission must send a copy of it to the Scottish Ministers (unless one has already been sent under subsection (1)).

(5) Once a report prepared under section 2 or 4 has been laid before the Scottish Parliament, the Commission must publish it.

(6) The Commission may publish reports prepared under section 2 or 4 in such manner as it considers appropriate.

6 Protocol between the Commission and the Scottish Ministers

(1) It is the duty of the Commission and the Scottish Ministers to agree a protocol for their engagement in relation to the forecasting and assessment process.

(2) In particular, the protocol must set out—

(a) the arrangements for meetings and communications between the parties (and their staff) ,

(b) the expectations as to the information to be exchanged between the parties during the forecasting and assessment process...

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