Magazine article Public Finance

Scotland 'Would Have Saved More Using UK Target'

Magazine article Public Finance

Scotland 'Would Have Saved More Using UK Target'

Article excerpt

Scotland's efficiency savings could have been £239m higher if the Executive had applied the equivalent targets set for Whitehall, Professor Arthur Midwinter, the Scottish Parliament's finance adviser has claimed.

First Minister Jack McConnell claimed last year that Scotland's economies would go farther than the Gershon plans for Whitehall.

But in a report to the Holyrood finance committee, Midwinter said the planned Scottish saving was £731m or 2.8% of the Departmental Expenditure Limit. 'If the Executive had followed the UK targets, the saving would have been £970m or 3.75%,' he added.

For the first time, the adviser has produced a detailed departmental breakdown of Scotland-England comparisons after excluding reserved functions.

While significant savings were achieved in five Scottish portfolios (administration, Crown Office, finance, health and justice), others had targets of less than 1% over three years (communities, enterprise, environment, tourism and transport). …

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