Malcolm's question on future public spending
Finance: UK Government support for Scottish banks Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab): Does the cabinet secretary accept that increased levels of borrowing by the UK Government have had a positive effect on Scottish banks, consumers and public services? If so, does he also accept that those increased levels of borrowing will have an effect in due course on levels of public expenditure?.

John Swinney (The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth):
Mr Chisholm takes us on to ground that is certainly causing me a great deal of concern, because the prognosis for public expenditure in the period from 2010-11 onwards is extremely serious. I am aware that the Parliament, which operates within a fixed financial envelope, will be directly challenged by the impact of those UK public expenditure cuts. That is what lies at the heart of the Government's unease at the situation that we face. Quite clearly, Parliament will have to wrestle with the issue in the course of considering the preparations for the 2010-11 budget. That is why I welcomed the initiative from the Liberal Democrats to encourage greater dialogue within the political parties in Parliament on how we can address that situation. I will be taking forward action on that as a matter of priority.

February 12th 2009, (Column 15017)