Scottish Labour has claimed the SNP has “wasted £5bn” since taking office in 2007, with the party’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie saying the government has adopted an “unforgiveable” attitude to the way it spends taxpayers’ money.

During First Minister’s Questions, which saw Baillie face off against Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes due to the parties’ respective leaders attending D-Day events, the Labour deputy pointed to a recent news report that suggested the Scottish Government is set to hand back over £450m of unspent EU funds.

A report in The Sunday Times said that Scotland is expected to return 28 per cent of the European structural and investment funding received in the past six years, with Wales on course to return nine per cent of its allocation, England six per cent and Northern Ireland two per cent. The money, which must be match funded at a domestic level, was allocated for the 2014-20 period. Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the funding agreement devolved nations could access the cash up until the end of 2023.

Baillie said it was “simply a scandal” that the money, which the EU distributes to reduce economic inequalities across member states, had not been spent on “crucial economic and anti-poverty projects across Scotland” and added that Labour party analysis had uncovered a further £5bn of waste since the SNP came to power in 2007.

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