Treasury minister Greg Hands has been urged to “get on the first flight back to Britain” to finalise a deal with John Swinney on Holyrood’s new tax powers after it emerged he is now on holiday in France.

SNP’s Pete Wishart, chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, rebuked the UK cabinet minister for his discourtesy towards the fiscal framework process.

“It is unbelievable that at this critical stage of these very complex negotiations he has chosen to go on holiday,” declared the Perth MP. “It is totally disrespectful by the Treasury. People have put in days and days to ensure there is a deal, which we now have to get by Friday.”

He went on: “It looks as if the Treasury has just given up. How can a deal be done when one of the parties is away on holiday? Yes we all work hard and need a break but Mr Hands needs to get on the first flight back to Britain and hammer out a deal; that’s what people would expect.”

Mr Wishart pointed out how Mr Hands had promised to “clear his diary” and noted that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s response to his committee’s report on the framework – given within 24 hours of publication – was unusually swift. He suggested clearing his diary had meant Mr Hands was making space not for the framework talks but for his holiday.

According to the MPs’ register of interests, Mr Hands, a 50-year-old father-of-two, who represents Fulham, owns a house in France jointly with his two brothers.

The intergovernmental negotiations, which have been going on for months, have become deadlocked over money.

Mr Hands insists the Treasury’s “compromise” offer would see Scotland better off by £4.5 billion over the next 10 years while Mr Swinney claims it would embed systemic cuts and leave Scotland £3bn worse off.

The Deputy First Minister has made a fresh, as yet undisclosed, offer he believes is fair to taxpayers on either side of the border and is in line with the ‘no detriment principles’ recommended by the Smith Commission whose report was the basis of the new Scotland Bill, which will introduce Holyrood’s new tax and welfare powers.

A Treasury spokeswoman insisted that, despite Mr Hands’s absence, the UK government remained “absolutely committed” to implementing the Smith agreement in full and in line with the no detriment principles.

“The offer we have placed on the table would have delivered more funding for the Scottish Government than the existing Barnett Formula since devolution in 1999,” she said, stressing how the UK Government stood ready to do a deal that was fair for Scotland and fair for the rest of the UK.

“The Chief Secretary is away for a long-planned short half-term break with his family but has made clear that he is ready to return at any time if the Scottish Government is willing to make a substantial move.

“Negotiations are still ongoing and the Chief Secretary will be speaking with the Deputy First Minister today,” she said, confirming that this would be from his holiday resort in France.

But a spokesman for Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Hands’s action “beggars belief”.

He explained: "Having secured an extra week for negotiations, the Deputy First Minister offered to clear his diary to go to London on Monday and do whatever was required during this week to thrash out a deal.

"We now find out that the reason a Monday meeting was not agreed to is that the UK Government's chief negotiator has gone on holiday to France before even having the courtesy to respond to the revised proposal submitted by the Scottish Government last week.”

He added: "It is time for the UK Government to decide if they are really serious about reaching a deal. Otherwise, they will stand accused of breaking their vow."

Further disdain for Mr Hands’s action came from Peter Murrell, the SNP's chief executive, who tweeted: "Everything you need to know about the Tory attitude to Scotland, clock ticking on fiscal framework deal and Treasury boss is on his holidays."

The original February 12 deadline for a deal, set by the Scottish Parliament’s Further Powers Committee, has now been pushed back to next Tuesday when Mr Swinney and David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, are due to appear before MSPs. The day before the House of Lords is due to debate the Scotland Bill.