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Covid-19 spending transparency “gets harder”

Audit Scotland warns that transparency about what is classified as Covid-19 spending across the government portfolio remains difficult in a fast-moving, unpredictable environment.

The Scottish Government estimates that it has spent more than £ 8.8 billion of the £ 9.3 billion allocated to support Covid-19 spending in 2020/21.

To date, more than 300 personal spending measures have been announced, the largest of which goes to business, health and social care, and local governments.

Expenditure was funded by the result of an additional £ 8.6 billion of Burnett from the UK Government in 2020/21 and by redistributing funds from the existing budget.

An additional £ 1.15 billion of Burnett funds have been carried over to the 2021/22 budget, but the UK Government does not guarantee the level of Burnett funds of 2021/22 as it did on 2020/21.

This will make it more difficult to deal with the uncertainties that arise from medium-term fiscal planning and pandemics, spending observers say.

Scottish Auditor Stephen Boyle

Scottish Auditor Stephen Boyle said: “As Scotland enters a pandemic recovery phase, it will become increasingly difficult to define what Covid-19 spending is.

“The Scottish Government manages pre-pandemic financial pressures, such as spending on health and social care.

“It means that difficult decisions come first, and despite the challenges, it increases the need for a medium-term plan to manage the level of uncertainty and volatility facing the Scottish budget.”

In 2020/21, Covid-19 spent £ 3.8 billion on business support by the Scottish Government. We spent £ 2.9 billion on health and social care and £ 1.2 billion on local governments.

The Scottish Government estimates that it will spend at least £ 4.9 billion on Covid-19 in 2021/22 and has budgeted to spend £ 3.3 billion so far.

Audit Scotland estimates that by the end of fiscal year 2020/21, more than 230 Covid-19 spending announcements had been made.

More than 70 announcements applicable to fiscal year 2021/22 were made by the end of July, bringing the total to more than 300 individual announcements since March 2020.

According to a report by Audit Scotland, the Scottish Government reviewed past spending decisions and collated all pledges related to Covid-19. This means that as the country moves into the recovery phase, it becomes more difficult to classify coronavirus-specific spending.

The statement also emphasized the need for effective communication at all levels of government to understand the impact of the measures.

“A clear understanding of how government initiatives at each level are working together to respond to and recover from a pandemic is a good understanding of the effectiveness of Covid-19 measures and budgeting. It is necessary to support financial planning, “read the report.

“Effective communication and cooperation between governments will be central to this.”

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Covid-19 spending transparency “gets harder”

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