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About the Scottish Parliament

Guidance on Budget Process for Subject Committees

The aim of this paper is to provide guidance to parliamentary committees on the budget process, which is based on the Budget Review Group’s 2017 review of the budget  process. The Group’s report can be found here: 

Budget Review Group - Final Report



Climate Change

33. In session 5 the Scottish Government stated that all ministers are climate change ministers. As part of their budget scrutiny, relevant committees are asked to  scrutinise how proposed spending in their particular remit has taken account of climate change issues and will help the Scottish Government meet the targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

All committees are required to consider climate change issues when scrutinising their own relevant Scottish Government portfolios.

As a result of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, future Climate Change Plans will be required to include estimates of the costs and benefits of policies to reduce emissions. During Stage 2 of the Bill, the Scottish Government committed to working with the Parliament and stakeholders to review the current processes and outputs around Budget information as it relates to climate change  and the Joint Budget Working Group was established. For further information, Committees may want to refer to the Joint Review of Budget Interim Report (March 2021) which can be found at the Joint Review of Budget Interim Report.

The following aspects were included in the Scottish Budget 2021-22 aimed at making short term improvements to the presentation of information to support effective, informed scrutiny—

A taxonomy analysis of capital spend has been added to the main Budget document, categorising spend by a traffic light system of low carbon, neutral and high carbon spend. This analysis is in addition to that presented in the carbon assessment, which measures the greenhouse gas emissions impact of the whole Budget. In previous years, the taxonomy analysis of capital spend had been made available to Committees after Budget publication. 

A reference to the ongoing work of the Joint Budget review was made in the 2021-22 Budget document [pg. 171]. 

The 2019 Act also placed the monitoring framework for the Climate Change Plan on to a statutory footing for the first time, with sector by sector reports on progress and the inclusion of matters relevant to a just transition. This annual monitoring report must be laid by 31 May in each relevant year or, if the Scottish Ministers consider that is not possible because the information needed for the report is not available, as soon as reasonably practicable after that date. This timing is to enable the report to feed into pre-budget scrutiny processes.

This is the most recent monitoring report - Climate Change Plan: monitoring reports - 2021 compendium