Scottish Government underspent budget by £244m in last year

The outstanding funds have been allocated to the budget for this financial year.

Scottish Government underspent budget by £244m in last year, new figures show iStock

Scotland’s budget was underspent by £244m last year, the Scottish Government has said, with the sum now fully allocated for this year’s budget.

Finance minister Tom Arthur made the announcement to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

He said the Government spent £46.9bn of its £47.1bn budget in 2022-23.

The underspend was made up of £180.6m of day-to-day spending, £24.7m of capital funding and £39m of financial transactions.

“The provisional out-turn demonstrates once again that the Scottish Government has maintained its firm grip on Scotland’s public finances,” Arthur said.

“We have ensured we have met our priorities, whilst balancing the budget within the very tight margins we have available.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has a proud record of balancing its budgets – in fact, we are not allowed to overspend, so must leave ourselves with the headroom to manage any shocks or issues that might arise.

“Every penny of the remaining funding has been allocated in full in 2023-24, allowing us to implement measures at the most optimal time, rather than being constrained to a single financial year.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden, however, said the people of Scotland would be “shocked there was an underspend of nearly a quarter of a billion pounds last year”.

Claiming the Scottish Government likes to “talk the talk but don’t walk the walk”, he added: “At a time when our local communities are seeing swimming pools close, libraries close, sports facilities close, how can this be the case?”

Arthur emphasised the fact that just 0.5% of the budget was underspent.

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