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FInancial Devolution In Scotland: The Journey So Far

11th January 2018

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Scotland is on a complex and fast-paced journey of devolution. This brings new opportunities and risks for public finances and how they're managed in a world of growing demand and challenges for public services.

As the independent public spending watchdog, Audit Scotland's role is to help the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission ensure that public funds are well spent and provide value for money.

We are committed to supporting the Scottish Parliament and the public to understand how devolution is changing the landscape for public finances, and how well key bodies are preparing to take on the significant responsibility of managing Scotland's new powers. This page sets out our past and future work in this important area.

Audit Scotland will produce a report in Spring 2018 - Managing the implementation of the Scotland Acts.

The 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts devolve a range of powers to the Scottish Parliament including responsibilities for taxes, borrowing, and social security. The implementation of the devolved financial powers and responsibilities is fundamentally changing the management of Scotland's public finances. The amount of devolved spending in Scotland met by money raised directly will increase from around ten per cent prior to the Scotland Act 2012, to over 50 per cent once the Scotland Act 2016 powers are implemented.

The powers of the Scotland Act 2012 have now been fully introduced and while a substantial amount of work has already taken place to implement the Scotland Act 2016 powers, work on this will continue until at least 2021. A significant part of this will be implementing the social security powers.

This audit will examine how effectively the Scottish Government is managing the implementation of the financial powers and responsibilities of the Scotland Acts. It will also examine the Scottish Government's overall capacity and capability to successfully implement and deliver the devolved powers and balancing the demands with those of its core business and emerging implications of the vote to leave the EU.

Audit Scotland web site -

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