Is the minister aware of a report by the Centre for Public Policy for Regions that highlights the fact that the Scottish Government not only will spend more than its allocated budget but will use 90 per cent of its reserve at the Treasury? Given the expenditure commitments and in the light of the Parliament's vote on Labour's energy efficiency debate on 13 November, what progress has been made on identifying new funding mechanisms to promote an area-based roll-out of energy efficiency measures and microgeneration technology across Scotland, to the order of around £100 million?
As Sarah Boyack knows, the report of the Centre for Public Policy for Regions vindicated everything that the Government has said about the tightness of the financial settlement that we are now dealing with as a consequence of the changes to the profile of public expenditure arising from the spending review in 2007. We are dealing with a much smaller increase in public expenditure in Scotland than has been the case over the past eight years. For that reason, the Government has negotiated a deal that my predecessors were never able to negotiate, which involves a three-year arrangement to draw down end-year flexibility, which, of course, is Scottish public expenditure that has not been spent to date. We have factored that into our programme, and that will support our policy commitments and expenditure priorities.
As our manifesto said that we would, the Government has expanded the resources that are available for microgeneration and energy efficiency technologies, and the Government is continuing discussions with various parties in Government and outwith Government to ensure that we maximise the effectiveness of expenditure on energy efficiency measures to support the Government's agenda on climate change, which will receive a major boost by the publication on
Are we any closer to having the energy efficiency certificate for this building displayed in a prominent place as per the European directive that came into effect on 6 January 2006?
The Scottish Government continues a dialogue with local authorities on a range of issues. We examine the questions of the availability of finance and the progress that has been made on policy issues. That discussion will continue with the leaders of the local authorities in Scotland in the productive fashion that has been facilitated by the Government's new relationship with local government in Scotland.