Public spending must adapt to Covid-19

20 August 2020
Covid-19: Emerging fraud risks report

Covid-19 will have significant consequences for public spending in Scotland now and well into the future, say auditors.

An Audit Scotland analysis of the financial implications of the pandemic - and the uncertainty it has brought - notes that more of the Scottish budget may need to be reprioritised to cover Covid-19 costs.

The briefing paper breaks down the £5.3 billion announced by the Scottish Government up to the end of July 2020 to tackle the impact of coronavirus. And it highlights the extra risks posed to the public finances by the pandemic.

Stephen Boyle, the Auditor General for Scotland, said:

The scale of the financial response to Covid-19 has been significant, and the Scottish Government has made a good start to ensuring its spending is transparent. It must continue doing so.

The unpredictable nature of the pandemic means more of the Scottish budget may need to be repriortised in the future to respond to Covid-19.  And that means the Scottish Government and its partners need to be clear about which services are essential to delivering on national priorities.