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Welsh Government consolidated accounts 2019-20 – Statement from the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
Published 24/11/2020   |   Last Updated 26/11/2020
The Chair of the Senedd's Public Accounts Committee, Nick Ramsay MS, has issued the following statement in response to the Auditor General for Wales' opinion on the Welsh Government's accounts for 2019-20.
Mr Ramsay said:
"The qualification of any Government's accounts on the basis of a 'true and fair' opinion is rare and, given the sums involved - nearly three quarters of a billion pounds - it is an important matter of public record that this issue is examined in detail by the Public Accounts Committee.
"While there is no dispute surrounding the nature of the expenditure, which was vital in supporting business during the ongoing pandemic, we are concerned about the transparency with which this expenditure is recorded in the Welsh Government's accounts.
"As we continue our scrutiny of the Welsh Government's Consolidated Accounts 2019-20 we will deliberate on this issue and ensure the Public Accounts Committee, and the Senedd as a whole, are able to effectively scrutinise this and future qualifications of this nature."
"We are due to take further evidence from the Welsh Government on its Accounts on 7 December 2020 and will report our findings in due course."
In 'qualifying' his opinion, the Auditor General for Wales (AGW) reported the Welsh Government had not included in its 2019-20 accounts £739 million of support for Welsh businesses as part of its economic support package during the pandemic.
The Welsh Government is an outlier in its approach with governments in other UK nations including similar costs in their 2019 –20 accounts, which, while triggering an overspend, led to their accounts being qualified on a regulatory basis only.
Had the £739 million been included in the 2019-20 accounts, the Welsh Government would have overspent on its £18 billion+ budget by £303 million.
As it is, the accounts show a net underspend of £436 million.
Further detail is available from Audit Wales.