Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Want Their Reserves Back

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Want Their Reserves Back

Article excerpt

Scottish ministers are to demand that unspent cash should be fully available to the Executive in the next budget round and not retained by the Treasury in London.

First Minister Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney want assurances that unspent resources amounting to about £1.5bn for the past three years can be readily accessed.

Swinney, along with ministers from Northern Ireland and Wales, discussed budget issues in talks in London earlier this month with the chief secretary to the Treasury Andy Burnham.

The minority SNP administration believes that the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition at Holyrood failed to make full use of their budget allocation over the past eight years.

Scottish ministers can 'draw down' cash from reserves held in London but need to negotiate with the Treasury to do so.

An Executive spokeswoman said the recent talks were 'very positive'.

It is understood that Swinney accepts that prudent financial management will be needed following the next spending round, which will be much tighter than in previous years. …

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