Magazine article Public Finance

Doubts Cast on Scots Claim to Boost Frontline Spending by 5%

Magazine article Public Finance

Doubts Cast on Scots Claim to Boost Frontline Spending by 5%

Article excerpt

The Scottish Executives claim that spending on frontline services will grow by 5% as a result of efficiency savings has been challenged by the Holyrood Parliament's finance adviser.

In a report to the finance committee, Professor Arthur Midwinter said his own calculation suggested that the real growth in spending would be 3.4% and that the Executive's 5% estimate'looks very optimistic'.

He also rebuked Finance Minister Tom McCabe for describing as semantics' a question about the difference between financial management savings and efficiency savings.

Midwinter told the committee: 'The minister appeared not to care. The committee's request for an intellectually rigorous approach does not mean that we are entering into semantics. It is important that we obtain clear definitions, otherwise we can never properly hold the Executive to account. …

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