Accounts Commission on council finances: Greens respond

A publication by the Accounts Commission, showing the extent of the financial stress faced by councils, serves as a wakeup call to the finance secretary say the Greens.

Local government spokesperson for the Scottish Greens Andy Wightman says the report’s findings make it difficult for Derek Mackay to dismiss key Green demands for the forthcoming draft budget that include protecting public services and a real terms pay rise.

Lothian MSP Andy Wightman said:

“The Accounts Commission update on public finances is stark, damning, but hardly surprising. Its contents were just as relevant last year as they are today and that’s why we are entering Budget negotiations with the same pledge: our group of six MSPs will do everything we can to protect and enhance public finances.

“Increasing funds for local government is one of our budget asks and we managed to prevent £160m of cuts the SNP had planned last year. The SNP has stalled on local tax reform, but ministers now need to show they seriously want to reverse the cuts made in previous years. The challenge facing Derek Mackay will be in constructing an Income Tax proposal which meets multiple needs and raises enough revenue to deliver on promises like a ral terms pay rise, without raiding local services to pay for it, and without hitting low earners who are already struggling.”