Magazine article Public Finance

SNP Savings Figures 'Dubious'

Magazine article Public Finance

SNP Savings Figures 'Dubious'

Article excerpt

The Scottish National Party has been criticised by a public finance expert for lacking financial discipline and making 'dubious assumptions' about future savings.

Arthur Midwinter, visiting professor at the Institute of Accounting Research at Edinburgh University, said the SNP minority government's £3.2bn of election commitments 'far exceeded' the £1.5bn of real growth expected through the Barnett Formula, which works out Scotland's share of UK spending.

'Therefore it is essential that any plans to fund spending growth through efficiencies is based on clearly identified and robustly costed savings, not dubious assumptions about savings in the future,' he added.

Midwinter, a former adviser to the Scottish Parliament finance committee, was commenting on a statement made last week by Finance Secretary John Swinney, who disclosed an underspending figure of £242m in the budget of the outgoing government.

The minister said that from this total, £135m would be carried forward under the EYF (End of Year Flexibility) arrangements. …

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