The Joint Exchequer Committee met today, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Greg Hands MP. The Scottish Government was represented by John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy.
This was the fourth meeting of the JEC and the first since the publication of the Smith Commission Report. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Deputy First Minister met on 8 June where they agreed that they would aim to conclude negotiations on the fiscal framework that will underpin the financial provisions of the Scotland Bill by the autumn, in tandem to the timetable for the Bill. This was the first consideration of substantive elements of the fiscal framework under the auspices of the JEC.
The Ministers considered high level options for future funding of the Scottish Government in relation to the new tax and spending powers to be devolved alongside a consideration of the principles of “no detriment” that Smith outlined in his report. Building on the good progress that has been made in relation to the Scottish Rate of Income Tax and other taxes devolved under the Scotland Act 2012, Ministers considered additional tax implementation issues in relation to devolution of the Smith taxes. The Ministers also acknowledged the importance of information sharing between the two governments both as an aid to ensuring successful negotiations on the fiscal framework and the ongoing operation of the fiscal framework. In addition, the Ministers agreed arrangements for the sharing of tax information in order for the Scottish Government to take a decision on the Scottish Rate of Income Tax later this year.
Ministers noted that officials from the two governments had been working together on analysis and evidence, and that further detailed planning and collaboration was continuing. They also agreed the importance of ensuring their respective Parliaments are updated on the negotiations as appropriate.
The next meeting of the JEC will take place in September, in Edinburgh, chaired by the Deputy First Minister.
Scottish and UK Governments