Debate needed on long-term sustainability of Scotland’s budget: Fraser of Allander Institute

 

New analysis reveals real-terms squeeze on non-health spending per person of almost 20% over the decade to 2020/21. The Institute has called for an ‘open and transparent’ debate on the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s devolved budget.

The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) says ongoing UK fiscal consolidation, a fragile economic environment and major spending commitments will mean many public services will continue to be squeezed.

In the report ‘Scotland’s Budget: 2017’, the FAI provides independent analysis of Scotland’s public finances ahead of the publication of the Scottish Government’s devolved budget in December.

Analysis reveals that real-terms resource spending per capita on public services other than health is expected to be almost 20% lower in 2020/21 than it was a decade earlier.

The Institute’s analysis also examines the immediate outlook for individual public services over the remainder of the Parliamentary term. It highlights some of the strategic priorities of the Scottish Government, including:

  • increasing funds for the health service by £500 million more than inflation by the end of this parliament,
  • doubling free childcare provision,
  • provision of free higher education tuition
  • protecting the police budget
  • maintaining free personal and nursing care, and
  • investing an additional £750 million in a school attainment fund.

Delivering on these commitments means that other parts of the budget will face cuts.

For example, delivering on just four budgetary priorities – health, policing, childcare and educational attainment – could mean that ‘non-protected’ areas face real terms cuts of between 9% to 14% over the current parliamentary term 2016/17 to 2020/21.

But as the Institute makes clear, those advocating against such cuts need to put forward their own proposals of where savings can be made or revenues raised. New analysis reveals real-terms squeeze on non-health spending per person of almost 20% over the decade to 2020/21. The Institute has called for an ‘open and transparent’ debate on the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s devolved budget.

Published: 26 September 2017



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