Magazine article Public Finance

Expert Points to 'Gaps' in Scots Efficiency Plans

Magazine article Public Finance

Expert Points to 'Gaps' in Scots Efficiency Plans

Article excerpt

A leading adviser on public finance is expected to criticise the Scottish Executive's £1.7bn efficient government plan, spotlighting 'fundamental gaps' in the costing of savings.

Professor Arthur Midwinter, who is due to speak at CIPFA Scotland's centenary conference in Glasgow on March 10, will question the impact of 'time-releasing' savings - the mechanism for making more productive use of working time.

He will say: 'The real problem is that the Executive has consistently exaggerated the scope of the plan, whether by "out-Gershoning" Gershon, by triple-counting the savings or by claiming a 5% growth in output.

'Rhetoric aside, the reality is that the savings total is much less than claimed, the revised targets for cash savings are still less ambitious than Whitehall's and there is no mechanism for measuring growth in output.'

Midwinter is visiting professor at the Institute of Public sector Accounting Research at Edinburgh University. He is also adviser to the Scottish Parliament's finance committee - although he stressed he will be speaking in a personal capacity at the CIPFA conference. …

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