Argyll & Bute Constituency MSP Michael Russell has taken over as the Convenor of the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament, which scrutinises and co-ordinates the Parliament’s response to the Scottish budget as well as looking at wider issues of national income and expenditure.
Mr Russell was chosen by the SNP as its candidate to lead the committee last week and was elected by the committee yesterday (Wednesday).
Commenting after the meeting Mr Russell said ;
“I am honoured and a little daunted to be chosen for this role. Given that there is now a minority government in Scotland the job of Finance Committee convenor will be to seek consensus on the budget, to ensure that the Parliament’s new tax powers are introduced smoothly and effectively and to protect and develop the model for public scrutiny of the budget and public finances in Scotland which is regarded with envy in other places.
The Committee is also likely to expand its remit and to become the Finance and Constitution Committee in the autumn when the present review of committee functions by the Parliament’s Standards Committee is complete. At that time the committee may wish to look more widely at the operation of the Scotland Act as it has developed over the past two decades and consider the relationship between the Parliaments and the Governments.
I look forward to working with my Conservative Vice Chair, Alex Johnstone MSP and with the committee members who come from the Conservatives, Labour and the Greens as well as from the SNP. I also look forward to working with the new Finance Cabinet Secretary Derek MacKay.
In addition I hope to invite the committee to visit Argyll & Bute at some stage in the future.“