Magazine article Public Finance

Swinney Defends Deferral of Cuts

Magazine article Public Finance

Swinney Defends Deferral of Cuts

Article excerpt

Scotland's finance secretary has rejected claims that he is storing up problems for die future by deciding to delay spending cuts until next year.

John Swinney confirmed that the Scottish Government will defer its £332m share of the spending cuts announced this week by Chancellor George Osborne. He insisted that imposing reductions now would put the 'fragile' economic recovery at further risk.

He said: 'The Scottish Government will prioritise economic recovery. That is why we are planning to defer these further cuts until the followingyear, in order that we can entrench economic recovery.'

Swinney accepted Osborne's offer to allow flexibility over the timing of cuts since the Scottish budget for 2010/11 had already been agreed.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Derek Brownlee claimed that savings now would not choke the economy as some had claimed. He said: 'Delaying the inevitable will only put more pressure on the economy and frontline services in the future.'

Professor Alan Alexander, former head of public management at Strathclyde University, said that the earlier the cuts were made, the more successful and sustainable these would be. …

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