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Audit Scotland report
Responding to the Audit Scotland report on Scotland's finances, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
"I welcome Audit Scotland's report, which confirms the scale of the financial challenges I expect Scotland will face in the medium term as a result of budget cuts from the Westminster Government. Given that the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) analysis shows Scotland in budget surplus - with a surplus of some £2.3 billion in the past three years - it reinforces the need for Scotland to be responsible for our own tax and spending decisions through fiscal autonomy and independence.
"Ministers are bringing forward a budget for 2010-11 to invest in Scotland's priorities as we wrestle with a 500 million pounds cut from Westminster.
"Every part of the public sector must deliver maximum value for the public purse and we have taken steps to simplify the public sector, cut the number of public bodies and make services more responsive. Our ambitious efficiency programme will deliver £3.2 billion in cash savings by 2011 while delivering the same level of services, and reforming the way we buy goods and services has also saved over 300 million pounds since 2006.
"I am, however, in no doubt of the difficult spending choices ahead for the whole of the public sector. The new spending climate requires government at national and local level to look again at how to deliver the best quality public services, and we will continue to work with the whole of the public sector to ensure that resources are used in the best interests of the whole of Scotland."