£160m budget boost for Scotland’s councils
Scotland’s local authorities are to benefit from an additional £160 million investment to spend on local priorities over the next year as part of the Scottish budget process.
The investment, which was confirmed by the Scottish Government yesterday as part of an agreement with the Scottish Green Party to support the passage of the budget bill, includes £30m of capital.
Finance secretary Derek Mackay also confirmed that an extra £25m will be made available to Police Scotland in addition to a further £35m of funding to Scottish Enterprise.
Amendments to the budget will be made later in the process and the additional funding for local government will be included in the local government finance order.
Confirming the changes during the Stage 1 of the budget debate, Mr Mackay, said: “At a time of significant challenge in our economy, this is a budget that will support jobs and lay the foundations for future growth.
“The Budget provides a strong settlement for local government, including additional funding for Educational Attainment, increased capital resources and increased revenues from council tax.
“It provides real terms protection for frontline policing, a real terms increase in total funding to the Health Service and increases to frontline NHS budgets for investment in primary care, community care, social care and mental health.
“I have entered into discussions with all parties in good faith in order to build the consensus we need to deliver a budget for Scotland. I particularly welcome the constructive approach taken by the Scottish Greens.
“My latest assessment of the financial position this year and our projections for 2017/18 has enabled me to identify available resources to support additional spending. This additional spending will be funded through the use of the budget exchange mechanism, updated profile of the Scottish Government contribution required to bring the non-domestic rates pool into balance and a reduction in the anticipated cost of borrowing repayments next year.
“I therefore propose, with the support of the Scottish Green party for all stages of this budget to allocate additional resources, of £160m, to Local Government to be spent at the discretion of individual authorities.
“Once again this Government has listened and acted.”
Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, welcomed details of the Scottish Government’s offer to increase funding to local councils.
He said: “We remain critical of many elements of this budget, and in particular it is clear that the SNP’s timid position on tax policy cannot last. But the substantial shift from Scottish Ministers on local council funding must be welcomed, and merits our support.”
Councillor Ian Miller, leader of Perth & Kinross Council, added: “I welcome the additional funding from the Scottish Government. We will consider this as part of the council’s budget-setting process, and look at how this money may help us to protect services, and address our priorities for 2017/18.
“To give councillors an opportunity to fully consider their proposals, I can confirm that the meeting of Perth & Kinross Council to set the Revenue Budget will now take place on 22 February 2017.”
ADDITIONAL 2017-18 LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING ALLOCATIONS
|Local Authority||Additional £130m Resource||Additional £30m Capital||Additional £160m Resource and Capital|
|Argyll & Bute||2.361||0.733||3.094|
|Dumfries & Galloway||3.896||1.218||5.114|
|Edinburgh, City of||9.998||2.278||12.276|
|Perth & Kinross||3.582||0.962||4.544|