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SNP ‘incompetence’ will cost taxpayer £14m

30 Sep 2016

Murdo Fraser MSP

The Scottish Government’s failure to comply with funding rules on infrastructure projects is set to cost the taxpayer £14 million, it has emerged.

An Audit Scotland report revealed today the Scottish Government manages four European Structural Fund initiatives aimed at improving things like transport links, business growth and skills.

That totals around £92 million, but three of them were “suspended” amid suspicion the “managing authority, in this case the Scottish Government, has not followed the rules on how funds are spent”.

The 2015/16 audit of the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts goes on to say, while the suspensions on the projects have now been lifted, “the consolidated accounts contain a provision of £14 million to reflect a permanent loss of grant to the Scottish Government which it cannot now recover”.

The report does not detail which particular projects were involved.

It is the latest revelation of the Scottish Government’s failure to cope properly with the delivery of European payments.

Today’s report is again critical of the SNP’s botched IT system which starved thousands of farmers of crucial CAP payments.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay has now been urged to explain what the Scottish Government will do to address the £14 million shortfall.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:

“This is an example of SNP incompetence which will cost the taxpayer £14 million.

“That’s simply not good enough, and points to a Scottish Government which is struggling to do the basics.

“Not only has it been hauled across the coals for its failure to deliver CAP payments for farmers, now it’s being taken to task over its infrastructure projects.

“Ministers need to explain urgently what they are going to do to address this, and how they will cope with Mackay’s missing millions.”

The full report is here, with details of the European Structural Funds issue on p19.
http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/the-201516-audit-of-the-scottish-government-consolidated-accounts