Budget 2009-10

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 4th December 2008.

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Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour 11:40 am, 4th December 2008

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it envisages meeting all of its expenditure commitments as outlined in its draft budget for 2009-10. (S3O-5067)

Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour

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?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

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 Friday of the Scottish Government's climate change bill.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

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?

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

If I may say, I do not think that that question is relevant to question 1.

Photo of Jeremy Purvis Jeremy Purvis Liberal Democrat

Will the cabinet secretary confirm that, in his meeting last week with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, a request was made of the Government for greater flexibility in the delivery of Scottish National Party manifesto policies and for greater flexibility within the concordat?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

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.