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by Louise Wilson
13 February 2024
Scottish Labour unveils new financial transparency charter

Finance spokesman Michael Marra has unveiled the new charter | Alamy

Scottish Labour unveils new financial transparency charter

Scottish Labour has pledged to end “waste, secrecy and economic chaos” by committing to a new Charter on Fiscal Transparency.

Unveiled ahead of the party’s spring conference this weekend, the charter sets out rules for public spending Labour would adhere to if it enters government.

It includes commitments to prioritising value for money, promoting transparency and publishing a financial strategy for public service reform.

It would also see a Barnett-style agreement created for local government to ensure councils funding is tied to the total Scottish budget.

Finance spokesperson Michael Marra said: “Years of financial mismanagement and economic failure has left Scots poorer and public finances at breaking point.

“The SNP is using income tax as a sticking plaster for economic growth, leaving Scots paying more and getting less in return.

“That’s why Labour is today giving the people of Scotland a cast-iron commitment that a future Labour government will open the books and deliver value for money.”

Leader Anas Sarwar is also launching the first in a series of business papers on Wednesday. This one will focus on support and investment.

The unveiling of the charter comes weeks after Holyrood’s finance committee criticised the Scottish Government for “procrastinating” on financial decisions.

The cross-party group said the government needed more long-term financial planning. It also criticised the unexplained delay to the publication of the public sector pay policy, an updated infrastructure project pipeline, and the strategy for public service reform.

Public finance watchdog Audit Scotland has also repeatedly called on the government to be more transparent about finances.

In a 2022 report, it made a series of recommendations including better reporting of spend in the budget, greater transparency around capital borrowing, and making more information available about the Scottish reserve.

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