Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:49 UK

Finance Committee part 1

A public policy expert told the Finance Committee the "budget itself is at risk" if non domestic (business) rates income did not come in at the level forecast by the government.

The committee was continuing its scrutiny of the Scottish government's draft budget 2012-13 and Spending Review on 26 October 2011.

Professor Jo Armstrong from the Centre for Public Policy for Regions was highlighting the potential impact of Finance Secretary John Swinney's plans for a 23% increase in non domestic rates over the next three years.

The finance secretary defended the plans in a letter to newspapers last month when he said more than half of this "apparent increase" was explained by inflation-linked hikes.

Also giving evidence was Professor Jeremy Peat from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Peat told MSPs because of the scarcity of resources "no policy should be protected until all cost and benefits have been vigorously and objectively assessed."

He also warned about the undesirable impacts of the supermarket levy as the tax could feed through to the basic commodities which many households buy through large retailers.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay commented that the cost is estimated to amount to a fraction of 1%.

Professor Jeremey Peat retorted: "Many a mickle makes a muckle".

In the second part of the committee MSPs quizzed representatives from councils, planning partnerships, NHS Scotland, Royal College of Nursing and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and this session can be viewed below:

Finance Committee part 2

Finance Committee membership


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