Rennie attacks £347 million Scotland underspend

LibDem leader Willie Rennie has condemned Government underspend.

LibDem leader Willie Rennie has condemned Government underspend.

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Fife MSP and LibDem leader Willie Rennie has attacked the Scottish Government’s £347 million underspend last year.

Describing the underspend as “eye-watering” Mr Rennie accused the Scottish Government of wasting a lot of potential.

“With an eye-watering underspend of £347 million, people would have expected the SNP to be able to get started on new capital projects,” he said.

“Buried in the details we see the SNP had big underspends on renewable energy, warm homes and school buildings. These things are supposed to be their top priorities. It’s a sorry state of affairs that so many opportunities are being missed.

“They are always saying how they have projects which are ‘shovel-ready’ and able to be started at a moment’s notice. Instead, because of the SNP’s screw-up on whether the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is public or private, new building projects in Scotland face delays.”

The underspend was revealed in the Auditor General for Scotland’s report on Scottish Government’s 2014/15 accounts.

Auditor General, Caroline Gardner, said there was a growing need for more information on the financial position of the devolved Scottish public sector as a whole and she called on the Scottish Government to set out clear plans and timescales on how it plans to further improve its financial reporting, which will help to enhance proper scrutiny of its spending.

This additional information would give a fuller picture of how public money is spent and provide insight into the longer-term implications for public finances, she said.