The Scottish Budget will be published next month despite a “completely unacceptable” delay in the UK budget, Derek Mackay has announced.

The Finance Secretary said he would set out the Scottish Government’s tax and spending plans for 2020/21 on February 6 to provide some clarity on public services.

The move comes after Chancellor Sajid Javid announced he was delaying the UK budget until March 11, around three months later than usual, because of Brexit.

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The change upset the Scottish budget, which is based on tax forecasts and other data published alongside the UK budget.

Holyrood normally passes a Budget Bill in February, which in turn lets Scotland’s councils set their budgets on March 11. 

Mr Mackay last week asked the Treasury for greater flexibility on this year’s budget to cope with the change, including extra borrowing powers.

He said the timing of the UK Budget had left him with an uncomfortable choice between publishing his budget without all the facts in front of him, or rushing it after the UK budget.

He has now chosen the former course, setting out a Scottish budget in advance of the UK budget which can then be revised once the Chancellor sets out his figures in March. 

Mr Mackay said: “The UK Government’s approach to the Scottish Budget has been completely unacceptable and has shown a disregard for devolution and a lack of fiscal responsibility.

“The timing of the UK Budget made it impossible for us to publish our own budget after the UK Government’s without drastically restricting the time for parliamentary scrutiny.

“In these exceptional circumstances, created by the UK Government, it is vital we give local authorities and public services clarity on their budgets. 

“That is why we have made the decision to publish our budget in February which will allow local authorities to set their budgets and council tax before the legal deadline of 11 March.

“I look forward to publishing a budget that will help tackle the global climate emergency, reduce child poverty and boost the economy.

“We will work closely with the Scottish Parliament to agree a timetable for the Budget Bill to allow for maximum scrutiny while ensuring certainty for Scotland’s vital public services.”

Tory MSP  Murdo Fraser said: “After all the faux outrage of last week, it’s good to see the SNP government has finally accepted that it does have enough information to go ahead with a budget.

“With substantial Barnett Consequentials arising from increased government spending south of the border, this is likely to be the highest overall block grant Scotland will have had from Westminster in a decade.

“The Scottish Conservatives will be setting out in due course what we would like to see happen.

“But what’s very clear is there is no justification at this time for further tax increases or even more cuts to vital public services.”

Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP said: "This entirely avoidable crisis has been created by the irresponsible UK Government, and it’s throwing Scottish public services into uncertainty.

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"There is no risk-free way for the Scottish Government to deal with this situation, but waiting until mid-March to publish a budget would be the most damaging option, so we welcome the announcement that it will be published before the UK budget.

"But the backdrop of Tory chaos must not let us lose focus on what’s actually needed from Derek Mackay – Scotland needs a climate emergency budget which changes direction on polluting transport policies, invests in low carbon solutions and creates new jobs in green industries, while protecting local services around the country.

"Greens have been successful in recent years in achieving change in the budget process, and even with the tight timetable ahead we’ll keep working to promote positive, creative solutions to the challenges Scotland is facing."

The council umbrella group Cosla welcomed confirmation of a budget date.

President Councillor Alison Evison said: “I am extremely pleased the Scottish Government has listened and responded to calls from Cosla for an early Scottish Budget.

"I wrote last week to Mr Mackay highlighting that in these exceptional circumstances it is vital that all spheres of Government in Scotland work together to protect and support the essential services that Local Government provides every day to individuals, families and communities."