Date lodged: 13 October 2017
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the finding in the report by the Auditor General, The 2016/17 audit of the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts, that a £31 million liability has arisen as result of the 2007-13 European Structural Funds programme, what monitoring of the programme it carried out and at what frequency; when the error was first noticed, and for what reason this was not noticed earlier.
Answered by: Keith Brown 10 November 2017
European Structural Funds were subject to checks and audits throughout the lifetime of the programmes and these were concluded in March 2017. The £31 million liability was finalised only once these checks were complete since it is the result of deducting the total eligible expenditure for the programmes from the total funds paid by the European Commission to the Scottish Government. The EC are currently undertaking their own checks on the £31 million and an invoice is anticipated after March 2018 following which a payment decision and timing can be made. Not all of the 72 project sponsors from whom a recovery is being sought were overpaid: some have been penalised due to errors particularly in procurement where an EC prescribed level of penalty has been imposed. Invoices totalling £12.3 million covering overpayments and penalties have been issued and are being pursued in line with Scottish Government policies.