Preventative Spending in the Scottish Budget
Scotland currently faces an exceptionally difficult period for public expenditure, with marked real term declines in spending for the foreseeable future. Setting budgets within these decreasing limits will require the Scottish Government and Parliament to make tough decisions of a kind which have, over the last decade of increasing expenditure, not been required. Combine this with an electoral cycle in Scotland which is hugely inhibitive to politicians making unpopular decisions, and it becomes clear that any moves to shift fundamentally the way things are currently done or to change spending priorities will prove extremely difficult. Nevertheless, within a very short timeframe Scotland must set its course to ensure that it can deliver improved outcomes in key areas (health, social care and education) despite public expenditure constraints. The consequences of these measures will prove crucial to the wellbeing of Scottish society and the performance of its economy over the next 20-30 years.