Commission calls for transparency in public finances and a rights based approach to economic recovery

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (the Commission) has submitted evidence to inquiries held by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, and the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery emphasising the need for transparency, participation and accountability in fiscal decision making.

The joint report to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on public finances and the fiscal framework, produced by the Commission and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), highlights the need to take a human rights-based approach to budgeting amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

“The impact of decisions being made now will be felt for many years to come. Taking a human rights-based approach to these decisions can support openness, honesty, transparency and public engagement, helping to maintain the public’s trust in current and future budgetary decisions.”

*You can read the submission in full here.*

The Commission has also submitted a response to the call for views from the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. This report considers the opportunity we have to redefine what the foundations of the economy we want to build might look like:

“We are presented with the opportunity to learn from past mistakes and create a new narrative about the values that should underpin Scotland’s future economy, one that is built on economic and collective social thinking grounded in the government’s existing human rights obligations.”

*Read the submission in full here.*

Both of these submissions relate to work that the Commission has recently published on fiscal transparency and Scotland’s Open Budget Survey results. The recommendations of this work aim to support further positive changes to Scotland’s budgetary processes.

This was detailed in an article published in today’s National newspaper, in which the Commission’s Research Officer, Dr Alison Hosie said:

“The Scottish Government is currently taking very difficult decisions in particularly challenging circumstances. Doing so with openness, transparency, accountability and public participation will foster and build trust with people.

“It will also help to ensure that budgetary choices being made support Scotland’s recovery in a way that respects, protects and fulfils everyone’s rights as much as possible.”

You can read this article written by Dr Hosie in full on the National’s website.




Notes to editors:

Inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on public finances:

Call for Views: Advisory Group on Economic Recovery: