THE Scottish Government has delayed its response to the UK mini-budget, including possible “hard choices” on spending cuts, until after the SNP conference.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the emergency review of Holyrood’s own budget would now take more than a month, instead of the fortnight he originally promised.

“We will not be replicating the Tories’ reckless tax cuts, but we'll consider carefully the correct measures for Scotland,” the acting finance secretary said.

Under the original timetable, Mr Swinney had been due to report back to the Scottish Parliament by October 7, the day before the SNP conference opens in Aberdeen. 

Having already announced £500million of cuts to the 2022/23 Scottish budget and warned of more ahead, it meant potential grim news on the eve of the event.

However Mr Swinney today said he would convene an “expert panel” specifically to scrutinise Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s controversial fiscal statement and report back to Holyrood in the week beginning October 24.

He said no one "should underestimate the scale of the disruption and damage” done by Mr Kwarteng’s statement, which raised borrowing and cut taxes, spooking the markets and destabilising the pound.

Mr Kwarteng announced the abolition of the top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 and a cut in the 20p basic rate to 19p from next spring.

If the Scottish Government retains its 46 per cent top rate and confines its 19p basic rate across the current £2200 instead of the £38,000 covered in England and Wales, it would mean more Scots would be more heavily taxed then their counterparts south of the border.

On Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said the mini-budget was “morally repugnant” and a “catastrophic disaster”, and Holyrood would not be falling into lockstep with it.

Mr Swinney repeated that message in response to an urgent question at Holyrood.

He said: “The Chancellor has taken a huge gamble with the public finances and the health of our economy and the markets have reacted strongly. 

“The pound fell to record lows on Monday, the cost of government borrowing has risen to its highest level in over a decade, and investor confidence is plummeting. 

“Many householders are now going to face much higher mortgage costs as a consequence of these decisions. 

“We're doing everything within our power to support people, public services and the economy. 

“But these efforts are under threat by UK Government beginning a new and dangerous race to the bottom. That is not a race that we are willing to run. 

“We will not be replicating the Tories’ reckless tax cuts, but we'll consider carefully the correct measures for Scotland.

“I intend to seek advice from an expert panel specifically convened to consider the implications of the mini budget, and will also embark on discussions with business and trade union interests. 

“The Scottish Fiscal Commission will incorporate the impact of any changes in their next forecasts. 

“I intend to report on these issues to Parliament as part of the emergency budget review in week commencing 24th of October. 

“The damaging impact of the UK government decisions on Friday demonstrate by Scotland needs the full range of financial powers to avoid living at the mercy of bad decisions taken in Westminster.”

SNP MSP Emma Roddick accused the UK Government of letting the “ultra wealthy keep more of their money during a cost of living crisis” and it made the case for independence.

Mr Swinney said the Tories were pinning all of their hope on “discredited”’ trickle down economics, enriching the wealth off not helping those in need.

“I can assure the chamber that the Scottish Government will take sensible careful decisions that are about helping those who need assistance the most,” he said.

Mr Swinney also said the mini–budget showed the “dramatically different” directions of the UK Government and the Scottish Parliament.

However the UK’s choices would be “felt acutely” on Scotland’s public services.

“My concern, looking at the publications from the United Kingdom Government and their statements, is that the pressure on public expenditure in the years to come is going to become even more intense than what I set out to parliament [earlier this month].”

After Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden pressed Mr Swinney to pass on the tax cuts, the deputy FM said copiying Mr Kwarteng would mean rewarding he “already very, very wealthy”/.

He said: “I've read numerous comments from the Conservatives demanding that I just get on and do what the United Kingdom Government has done. 

“And I'm going to consider it all carefully. That's why I'm going to take the necessary time to do it. I'm going to draw together an expert panel to provide advice to the government. 

“It's why I'm going to engage with business. It's why I'm going to engage with trade union interests. Because I don't think any of us should underestimate the scale of disruption and damage that was done by the announcements on Friday.

“I have to take a careful and prudential approach in managing the public finances of Scotland, and that is what I'm going to do.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said Westminster, which is currently on recess, should be recalled to “walk back” the mini-budget.

Mr Swinney said he agreed with much of what he said.

“Future generations are being lumbered with colossal costs of borrowing because a windfall tax has not been applied to energy companies.

“Various very wealthy people are being given even more money when people are facing destitution in our society.

“So I entirely support the call for the United Kingdom parliament to reconvene immediately for these measures to be rectified.”