Scottish Conservatives reveal plans for Open the Books Bill

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The Scottish Conservatives have revealed plans for an Open the Books Bill to increase the financial transparency of the Scottish Government.

Douglas Ross said the proposal for a Member’s Bill at Holyrood would end the SNP’s “secrecy” and deliver better value for taxpayers.

The new policy was announced ahead of the first day of the Scottish Conservative Conference, which takes place in Aberdeen today (Friday) and Saturday.

The Scottish Conservative Leader said the Bill would:

  • Require the Scottish Government to publish a quarterly update of the Budget, including a statement from the Finance Secretary
  • Require the Scottish Government to publish monthly data on the uptake and payouts from each fund it operates
  • Require the Scottish Government to publish a value-for-money statement ahead of taking ownership of any private enterprise
  • Improve transparency and post-legislative scrutiny of the annual Budget Bill

Ahead of the start of the Scottish Conservative Conference on Friday, the party has already announced the following new policies:

  • Proposals for a new generation of small nuclear energy reactors across Scotland
  • A plan to give the public the right to petition for a review of soft-touch prison sentences
  • A proposal to bring 1000 jobs to Aberdeen by basing the new education agency in the city
  • Plans to ban sex offenders from changing their name

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: 

“The public should be able to find out how every penny of their money is spent.

“Our Open the Books Bill would strengthen financial transparency and government accountability.

“Too often, the vast sums that the SNP have at their disposal is shrouded in secrecy.

“We’ve all seen SNP ministers insist that they’re skint, only to hastily find another hundred million to spend.

“Just this week, Audit Scotland highlighted serious flaws in the transparency of Covid business grants, caused by a lack of information.

“There is a pressing need to open the books so that taxpayers can get better value for money.

“We’re building the real alternative to the SNP, so we can end the secrecy that is holding Scotland back.”

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