Scots government underspends by £500m

The Scottish Government had expenditure of £30.9 billion in 2017-18 against a fiscal budget of £31.4 billion — indicating an underpsend of around £500 million.

“Surplus tax receipts and carry forward of funding into 2018-19 was confirmed … as the Scottish Government published the provisional cash outturn for 2017-18,” said the Scottish Government.

“Set against a backdrop of unprecedented change in Scotland’s fiscal landscape due to the Scotland Acts and the Fiscal Framework, which fundamentally changed the sources of funding that underpin Scotland’s spending and introduced significant new devolved financial powers, the figures show expenditure of £30.9 billion, against a fiscal budget of £31.4 billion.

“For the second year running, income from devolved taxes has increased in Scotland.

“The total provisional income from Land & Buildings Transactions Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax is £706 million, £50 million above initial budget forecasts and an increase of £73 million, or 12 per cent, from 2016-2017.

“After taking into account the planned carry forward included within the 2018-19 budget approved by the Parliament, additional Social Security funding received from HM Treasury in 2017-18 in advance – where the spend is included in the 2018-19 budget – and additional devolved taxes income, a further £66 million will be carried forward to 2018-19.

“This represents just 0.2 per cent of the overall fiscal budget and will also be carried through the Scotland Reserve and will be available to support management of future budget volatility.”

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “The 2017-18 provisional outturn results show that once again the Scottish Government has prudently and competently managed Scotland’s finances ensuring our public services are provided for in a fiscally responsible manner.

“The successful implementation of new financial powers has been delivered against the backdrop of uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU and the UK Government’s continued austerity measures.

“Under the current devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament is not permitted to overspend its budget.

“As a consequence, we have consistently adopted a position of controlling public expenditure to ensure that we live within the budget control limits that apply.

“These underspends represent a fraction of our overall budget, but will be carried forward to support this year’s budget and increase our reserves to ensure we can respond to future challenges.

“It is also very encouraging to see that our devolved taxes exceeded forecasts by £50 million.

“We will continue to maintain a firm grip on Scotland’s public finances to mitigate the negative impact Brexit will have on Scotland’s economic outlook.”