THE Scottish Government has underspent its budget by £155 million, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has said.

The cash, which amounts to 0.5 per cent of the total budget for 2015-16, will be carried forward to the financial year 2016-17, he told MSPs at Holyrood.

Mr Mackay said £75m of the underspend came from the resource budget while £40m of capital funds would also be carried over.

An additional £40m of underspend in relation to financial transactions, ring-fenced for loans and equity investment outside the public sector, would also be taken forward.

The financial year was the first in which the Scottish Parliament was responsible for taxes devolved under the 2012 Scotland Act, including the stamp duty replacement land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT).

A total of £572m of LBTT was collected during the year, about £74m more than initial estimates.

The Scottish Government said almost 9,700 additional house purchases were taken out of tax altogether in 2015-16 compared to the UK tax while more than 41,600 buyers paid less than they would have under UK stamp duty. Mr Mackay said the extra revenues would be held in the new Scottish cash reserve.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said revenues from domestic LBTT were around £33m lower than originally estimated and called on Mr Mackay to look again at rates “to see if a reduction in certain levels might increase the tax take”.

The Finance Secretary said the government was already committed to reviewing LBTT after the first full year, but added: “I think it’s fair to say having exceeded our forecast that we have done a very effective job so far in those new devolved taxes that have come our way.”

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale pointed out that the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) will not start producing independent economic forecasts until summer 2017 and questioned whether Mr Mackay was confident he had the necessary data to monitor Brexit’s impact.

Mr Mackay said the SFC would act in an advisory capacity before taking up its fuller functions and had been offered additional capacity and support. He said: “I am satisfied that I have as much as can be given at this time.”