Scottish Government challenged on £450m underspend in the midst of cuts

Scottish Parliament – £450m underspend queried

The Scottish Government is being asked to explain why they sat on a £450million budget surplus while people in Moray had to suffer the pain of cuts to services.

Sean Morton, who will contest the Moray seat in the UK General Election in May, is highlighting the revelation in a personal blog by the Editor of the Herald newspaper.

In that, Tom Gordon said that the Scottish Government had recorded its largest-ever underspend last year – with ministers issuing the final total in what he described as an “obscure report” laid to parliament just before Christmas.

Mr Gordon said that he sought out a copy of the report but was refused on the grounds that it had to clear parliament first – a reason he described as “complete cobblers”.

Now Mr Morton is demanding answers, saying: “We all saw how the SNP blamed down south for lack of funds in our communities – but now we find out that they had hundreds of millions that could have helped local people, but chose not to help.

“While Moray has gone through the pain of cuts to services, threats of school closures and the rise of the poverty and the emergence of food banks – the SNP chose not to help.

“Now that we know this money exists I have one simple question for the SNP – when can Moray have its share?”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This report contains no new information, it simply brings together budget and outturn information already laid before the Scottish Parliament and published in the audited accounts of the bodies that make-up the Scottish Administration.

“The report records an overall underspend of less than 1.3%.”

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