Magazine article Public Finance

Preventative Policies 'Need Hard Decisions'

Magazine article Public Finance

Preventative Policies 'Need Hard Decisions'

Article excerpt

Scottish politicians need to accept that they will achieve effective preventative spending only if they take the tough decision to drop other activities, Scotland's outgoing auditor general told the CIPFA conference, held in Dundee on March 15-16.

In his address to delegates, Bob Black said: 'To make preventative spend work we have to stop doing things, because there isn't any more money.'

Among the activities that might need to be reassessed, he said, were universal free services, which include personal care for the elderly, concessionary bus travel and free prescriptions.

He added that local authorities were focusing their squeezed resources on those with the greatest need for services, rather than 'those who need some support/ and appealed to politicians to 'reframe the political narrative'.

Black, who is retiring after 12 years as the first holder of the auditor general post, also warned authorities against downgrading the influence of finance professionals in strategic decisionmaking as funds tightened. 'There has been an issue in the past few years about whether there's a risk of the finance function not being valued at the top table in the way it should be,' he said. …

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