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MCCONNELL LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON SCOTTISH EXPENDITURE

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Scottish executive finance minister Jack McConnell today launched the first ever public consultation on the executi...
Scottish executive finance minister Jack McConnell today launched the first ever public consultation on the executive's expenditure plans.

Mr McConnell said: 'The publication of expenditure plans for Scotland represents a major innovation in public expenditure planning and fulfils the executive's commitment to open and accessible government.

'The consultation paper sets out in detail the executive's expenditure proposals. It presents disaggregated figures for our spending plans across all areas that are the responsibility of the devolved Parliament.

'I want to encourage as many people in Scotland as possible to read this document and think about our spending priorities and I urge as many as possible to communicate their views to us by the end of the consultation period.

'I am determined that we achieve best value from our budget and that the way in which we handle our finances sets world class standards and contributes to Scotland's reputation for sound financial management. I am equally determined that the people of Scotland - from school children to pensioners - understand how their Parliament is financed and can make constructive and informed comment. This publication will enable them to do that.

'We are committed to making government work for the people of Scotland. The new Parliament and the executive is all about meeting the people's priorities and consultation is the key. This document takes financial decisions out from behind closed doors and into every community throughout Scotland.'

The figures have already been presented to the Parliament's finance committee for consideration and this publication will now be sent to organisations and professional bodies throughout Scotland asking for comments. But it will also be available at libraries throughout the country to enable anyone within Scotland to offer their own views on our spending priorities. The document will also appear on the internet and will be available to any one with access to a computer terminal that is linked to the web.

Public consultation will become an annual feature of the way the executive determines its spending priorities. However, since the

executive only assumed our full legislative responsibilities on July 1, and the enabling legislation is still passing through the

Parliament, this year's consultation period is shorter than it will be in future years. The Executive nevertheless feel that it is important to establish the procedure and responses are requested by mid December.

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