Transparency needed to follow pandemic pound

By Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland

BEFORE coronavirus changed life as we know it, the Scottish Government was facing some very real financial challenges.  

They knew the NHS would continue to absorb more of the Scottish budget (41 per cent in 2019/20) without big changes to service delivery and faster integration of health and social care. Those problems largely remain

Other knot-filled folders sat on ministers’ desks. They included ones marked police and local government funding; Brexit; and managing the volatility of new tax and social security powers. Most of those challenges remain

These issues would have tested any government at any time. Now a pandemic – and the increased costs and uncertainties it has brought – must be managed alongside them.  

Most of the Covid-19 spending in Scotland has been covered by huge levels of UK government borrowing to fund the health, social care and business response. That’s meant an extra £9.7 billion added on to a Scottish budget of over £40 billion for 2020/21.  

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