Front line services benefit as bureaucracy costs slashed

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The Scottish Government has underlined its commitment to openness and accountability with the publication of comprehensive expenditure data, the first time such figures have been published by any UK administration.  It details all expenditure over £25,000 by the Scottish Government in April. Further reports will be published every month….


The Scottish Government has underlined its commitment to openness and accountability with the publication of comprehensive expenditure data, the first time such figures have been published by any UK administration.  It details all expenditure over £25,000 by the Scottish Government in April. Further reports will be published every month.

The data highlights how the Scottish Government is investing money in front-line services and economic growth – this builds on action to deliver efficiencies and maximise the value of public spending in Scotland.

The figures revealed significant efficiency savings to Scottish public expenditure including:

  • £839 million efficiency saving in 2008-09 – £300 million over the target
  • 25 per cent reduction in the number of national devolved bodies saving £123 million up to 2013 and £38 million per year every year after that
  • Over £1 million reduction in the Scottish Government travel costs from £5.9 million in 2008-09 to £4.9 million in 2009-10, the cost of air travel fell by 24 per cent
  • The proportion of the Scottish Budget allocated to central administration is significantly lower than the comparable UK Government figure: 1.4 per cent of the Scottish budget compared to 2.5 per cent at UK level

The Scottish Government has said it intends to deliver a further £1.6 billion of efficiencies in 2010-11.  Savings thus far have already been followed by investment in crucial frontline services, including:

  • £825 million in cash advances to NHS Boards – including £200 million to Greater Glasgow Health Board, the biggest single item of expenditure
  • £800 million in General Revenue and Capital Grants to local authorities
  • £180 million to the Scottish Funding Council

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:
“We are the first administration in the UK to take this major step forward for open and accountable government. The Scottish Government is leading the way with the publication of this detailed information setting out our expenditure.

“For the first time, this will give the people of Scotland monthly updates which let them see in detail how we are investing their money in frontline services and economic growth. This has been a valuable exercise that has already led to a number of innovative actions. We have made significant reductions such as reducing the costs of central marketing by half, and the Scottish Government travel budget by almost a fifth. And there will shortly be a low carbon shuttle bus service for staff between government buildings in Edinburgh.

“The Scottish Government is continuing to invest in crucial frontline services. The publication provides a snapshot of the range of Scottish Government expenditure that provides support to the economy and frontline services, day in, day out, ranging from £12 million to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to £785,000 to Volunteer Development Scotland and £50,000 to Christian Aid Scotland.

“We are committed to efficient and effective government to ensure the delivery of crucial frontline services like these. We intend to deliver at least £1.6 billion in efficiencies in 2010-11, building on £839 million of efficiency savings made in 2008-09 – £300 million above the target.”

Mr Swinney told the Scottish Parliament on February 3, 2010 that the Scottish Government would, on a monthly basis, publish online details of all items of expenditure above £25,000.