Magazine article Public Finance

Auditors Warn of £2.9Bn Spending Gap for Scotland

Magazine article Public Finance

Auditors Warn of £2.9Bn Spending Gap for Scotland

Article excerpt

'There are serious financial pressures ahead'

BOB BLACK, AUDITOR GENERAL

The Scottish Government faces a spending 'black hole' of up to £2.9bn, an Audit Scotland report has warned.

According to the watchdog, the government, Parliament and wider public sector must urgently make decisions about competing priorities and how best to spend tighter budgets.

In the report, Scotland's public finances: preparing for the future, published on November 5, Audit Scotland said the public sector was under the greatest financial pressure since devolution ten years ago.

Auditor general Bob Black said: 'The first ten years of devolution was a period of significant growth for the Scottish public sector.

'The picture is changing fast. There are serious financial pressures ahead and the whole of the public sector must quickly find ways of making informed decisions about competing priorities.'

The growing financial pressures were described in the report as being caused by the budget shrinking while the population was ageing; the costs of free public services were rising; and the backlog of maintenance and repair of buildings, roads and other assets was growing. …

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