DEREK Mackay has warned of "calamity" for Scotland’s public services after the UK Government pushed their already delayed budget back until March 11.

That means ministers in Edinburgh won’t know how much the Scottish Government will be allocated in the block grant, which in turn means Scotland’s councils won’t know how much they have to spend on their services for the year ahead.

And under the local government finance act, Scotland’s 32 local authorities are supposed to have legally set their budgets and council tax rates by March 11.

Mackay, the Scottish finance secretary, accused Javid of disrespecting devolution.

He said he had found out about the budget date from the press.

"This is disrespectful of devolution. The UK Government I think know the consequences but don't care about the consequences.

"It appears to me that the Tory UK Government has given up on the union altogether, in not wanting to make our established processes work."

Mackay told MSPS that if Holyrood fails to pass a rates resolution by March 31 there would be no authority for the collection of the Scottish portion of income tax - potentially putting £13 billion of revenue at risk.

The Finance Secretary said: "It would be unthinkable if the budget in Scotland wasn't passed because that would bring about terrible calamity for our public services, communities and people of Scotland."

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: "It scarcely matters anymore whether this is being done by the UK Conservative Party deliberately to cause chaos or simply because they don't care. The effect is the same."

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said the delay to the Budget was caused by December's general election, which was supported by the SNP.

"They can hardly put the blame elsewhere when they were demanding a general election," he said.

Mackay said the election didn't explain why they had to wait until March for the Chancellor's statement: "I understand the UK Budget was good to go in November last year.
"In January of this year there is no reason the UK Government can not go ahead with their Budget now.
"And the general election was mid-December, the Tories could have got on with it."

Not all Tories were as happy with the Chancellor as Fraser.

Tory Councillor Gail Macgregor, who is the resources spokeswoman at the local government body Cosla, said the UK Government had put “thousands of essential public services at risk of going without funding."

She added: "Local authorities carry out a complex and hugely important role in our society.

"As the employer for 10% of Scotland's workforce and a procurer of over £6.3 billion in goods, we are the key economic driver for communities across the country.

"Any delay to our budgets means that these services are put at risk.

"The UK Government's decision runs the risk of delaying the Scottish Government's budget.

"This significantly impedes the ability for local authorities to formulate their own budgets meaning Scotland's communities are disadvantaged.

The councillor's comments were raised with Javid in the Commons by the SNP’s new shadow chancellor, Alison Thewliss.

“Can he tell me whether he thinks it fair that Scottish local government must set its budgets blindfold without any notion of what their block grant will be," she asked, adding: "And isn't it the truth that the Chancellor has given absolutely no thought to Scotland at all?”

Javid told the Glasgow MP: “In the election we just had, we talked again and again about the need to unleash the potential of the entire United Kingdom. Of course that includes all of Scotland.

“Where Scotland has been let down time and time again is by the SNP government which is giving Scottish people the highest taxes in the United Kingdom and the worst set of public services.”

Experts at the Chartered Institute of Taxation warned the Scottish budget process will have to take place "at breakneck speed” saying MSPs would have "just a few days to react to changes made at Westminster" and to agree on tax rates and bands.