Date lodged: 12 January 2017
To ask the Scottish Government for what reason the Scottish Funding Council reported a £50 million underspend for 2015-16.
Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 26 January 2017
The £50m reported by the SFC in its reserves for 2015-16 came about because the allocation of funding to the body by the Scottish Government is made on a financial year basis, whereas the body’s spending is on an academic year basis. For this reason the SFC needs the flexibility to manage its cash flow between financial years to ensure all of its academic year funding obligations are met.
Following the award of additional funding to the SFC in the 2011 Spending Review, it rolled forward larger than normal financial year reserves. Being assured that every financial commitment to every institution had been met in full it was decided by the Scottish Government that the £50 million should come back to the government’s consolidated budget and be available to be deployed against agreed priorities.
This process was concluded as part of the Scottish Government’s Consolidated Accounts for 2015-16 as lodged with the Parliament in September.