SNP ministers ‘must take blame’ for spending cuts
SNP ministers have been told to stop blaming the UK Tory government for savage cuts after new figures revealed Holyrood underspent its budget last year by a record £2 billion.
Data from Audit Scotland showed £49.2bn had been spent against a budget of £51.2bn for the 2021-22 financial year.
Auditor General Stephen Boyle said the government had “strengthened its focus on longer-term planning” but said there was more it could do to ensure greater financial transparency, including how reserves are used to help manage cost pressures.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for finance and economy Liz Smith said SNP ministers only had themselves to blame for not spending the budget.
“The SNP Government has serious questions to answer on these figures,” said Ms Smith. “It’s clear that the Auditor General is frustrated by the lack of transparency on the public finances. He has made that point repeatedly yet, so far, there is no improvement. That’s not good enough.
“No-one doubts the very difficult fiscal circumstances facing all governments just now.
“But what jumps out is the fact that there has been a record-breaking underspend of £2bn at a time when the SNP is forever SNP ministers have been told to stop blaming the UK Tory government for savage cuts after new figures revealed Holyrood underspent its budget last year by a record £2 billion. that the Scottish Government is underfunded by the UK Government – despite being in receipt of a record block grant.
“Of course, it’s in the SNP’s political interests to claim this, as a justification for their swingeing budget cuts to virtually every government department – except the constitution, of course.
“But those pleas will ring hollow when they haven’t even spent all the funds at their disposal. The SNP has no one else to blame but themselves and they should finally take responsibility for their own spending choices.
“This represents a massive underspend by Nicola Sturgeon and Co will have to justify.”