However, this was allayed by a PS4.375m underspend
in a business and resources pot, with South Tyneside Council ending the year over half a million pounds under budget.
is further evidence of a deeper problem within a service that dysfunctional, completely unfit for purpose and is miserably failing the public.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The financial performance reported in the accounts demonstrates the effective stewardship of resources by the Scottish Government in again limiting underspend
to around one per cent of the Scottish Government's budget.
Laura McAllister, professor of governance at Liverpool University and a specialist in Welsh politics, argued that allowing Wales to retain any underspend
would create a more respons-ible political culture.
The Department for Transport has previously made it clear that any underspend
not used within a few years will be clawed back from the North East.
West Midlands Police yesterday celebrated a 3.3 per cent drop in recorded crime and a pounds 2 million budget underspend
as it announced figures for the force's annual review.
Next year's breeders' prizes scheme will enjoy a 13 per cent increase on last year's fund, although the Levy Board is allocating the same amount to the scheme as it did in 2006, pounds 1.8m, with the additional pounds 232,000 coming from an underspend
for this year's scheme.
The other main underspend
was in the council's contingency and central budgets, which came in pounds 5.8million below expected.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Finance Minister Dafydd Wigley highlighted more than pounds 50m underspends
in health and education and a further pounds 70m in economic development.
"There were also some underspends
by a number of local NHS organisations mainly due to money being allocated late in the year," she said.
Tory leader David McLetchie said underspends
were now the norm, and not the exception for the Executive.
Mr Wigley called for tighter reviewing procedures to identify potential underspends
and urged the use of reserves to be transparent and open to scrutiny.
He said: "The Assembly government is using up the underspends
from previous years and by reducing its embarrassingly-increasing reserve fund."
'The projection is flawed as most of the big underspends
are during the period 1991-98.
"Parliament does not approve of large NHS underspends
as it commits those resources for health spending, not to just sit there."