Following on from CIPFA’s significant report ‘Scotland’s future in the balance’, which addressed tough questions around the future financing of Scotland ahead of the Scottish referendum, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has submitted evidence to the Smith Commission on Further Devolution of Powers to the Scottish Parliament.
The Institute argues that Scotland requires new powers and improved accountability in order to succeed as a modern devolved state. These should include giving the Scottish Government the ability to hold reserves, and an enhanced ability to borrow for capital purposes based on affordability.
CIPFA argues that an enhanced financial control framework would provide a sound basis on which to assess the future affordability and sustainability of Scotland’s public services.
The Institute’s submission also calls for a principled approach to devolved taxation, identifying a number of “tax principles” which would enable the Commission to test any taxation proposals in an objective and transparent manner.
CIPFA also described how these new powers could contribute tor stronger financial accountability. It suggests the introduction of a Scottish balance sheet, which would allow the people of Scotland to see a report of their country’s assets and liabilities.
Don Peebles, Head of CIPFA Scotland, commented:
“The present control framework does not provide the devolved Scottish government with all the necessary financial levers for optimum financial management and accountability. Any new powers should include powers to enable the Scottish Government to hold reserves and with an enhanced ability to borrow for capital purposes, based on affordability.
Notes to editors
CIPFA’s report released in June during the Scottish referendum debate, ‘The Scottish Referendum: Scotland’s future in the balance’, recognised three main points on constitutional change:
A copy of the report can be found here.