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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Managing Scotland’s Finances

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Maintaining a balanced budget to fund key priorities.

The 2021-22 Provisional Outturn has been published detailing how the Scottish Government spent £47 billion on funding key public services to mitigate the impacts of the Covid pandemic and help tackle rising cost of living pressures.

The remaining £650 million of available funding has been carried over through the Scotland Reserve and allocated to support key priorities for 2022-23, which include tackling child poverty and striving towards our climate change targets. 

The Finance Secretary has previously made clear to Parliament that unexpected and late consequential funding from the UK Government was being factored into spending plans for 2022-23 and that any plan to carry forward funding requires the Government to use the Scotland Reserve, which will therefore be presented as an underspend.

Throughout 2021-22 the Scottish Government has:

  • spent over £5.7 billion in relation to Covid, including over £2.6 billion to support health and wider public health initiatives, and around £1.5 billion in business support and self-isolation grants
  • provided over £3.5 billion on Social Security benefits, including £57 million towards the Scottish Child Payment
  • committed an additional £4 million of humanitarian aid, as the first part of a contribution to support the Ukraine crisis
  • invested a record £1.9 billion to tackle climate change 

Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur said:

“The Scottish Government has had to respond quickly and decisively to significant challenges, in particular the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the tragic illegal war in Ukraine.

“However, despite these difficult circumstances, our prudent financial management has meant every penny received by the Scottish Government has been channelled to where it was needed the most. 

“We face the same interrelated challenges as other governments across the world but we do so – currently – without the tools and levers other governments have at their disposal.

“The current fiscal framework is inadequate and leaves an imbalance between the risks to which the Scottish Budget is exposed to and the levers that we have to manage those risks. 

“We have delivered on our priorities, maintained the balance of not breaching our fixed budgetary limits and ensured we have sufficient balances to fund our 2022-23 spending commitments.”

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