Councils will see an increase in funding and can shelve many of the cuts they had planned

Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (8 Feb) published analysis showing that the Green budget deal struck last week with the Scottish Government means that local councils will see an increase in funding and can shelve many of the cuts they had planned.

Figures from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that due to the additional £160million secured for councils by the Greens, the 2017-18 budget line for local government is now "essentially flat in real terms", compared to the 1.6 per cent cut the government had proposed.

And when the £111million from adjustments to upper bands of Council Tax is added in - this is funding local councils are free to spend on local priorities - the Local Government settlement shows a 0.7 per cent real terms increase compared to the 2016-17 draft budget.

Already, councils are shelving planned cuts thanks to the Green budget deal. In South Lanarkshire, 60 job cuts look set to be averted, with cuts to Youth Learning, the mobile creche service, school libraries and janitors also likely to be cancelled.

In Perth & Kinross, the Green budget deal means an additional £4.5million, prompting the council to reconsider plans to cut secondary school teachers and increase the cost of school meals.

Patrick Harvie, Finance spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:

"I’m pleased to see SPICe confirm their analysis of the budget concession won by the Greens, in which an additional £160m will be added to the local government settlement. 

"When we add in the changes to the upper bands of Council Tax, it's clear there is a small real terms increase in funding for councils to spend on local priorities. We know that local councils around the country are now able to shelve a great many of the cuts they had been planning, and Green activists will be able to show the voters how we’ve protected local services in every single community."


SPICe briefing note showing the Total Local Government budget line is now "essentially flat in real terms" at -0.1 per cent (pages 2 and 3)

Using Table 3 from this briefing our analysis shows:
When the Local Government settlement includes changes to upper bands of Council Tax and the Attainment Fund but excludes money double-counted in the health portfolio, excludes assumed council tax increases (this is for Councils to decide) and excludes the Green budget deal agreed at Stage 1:

£63.1m cash change (0.6% increase)
£10,215.2m revised total support
£85.2m real terms decrease (-0.8%)

When the Green budget deal of £160m is added:

Cash change rises to £223.1m increase (2.2%)
Revised total support rises to £10,372.9m
Real terms change becomes £72.5m increase (0.7%)

Earlier SPICe briefing note showing original draft budget proposed 1.6 per cent real terms cut for Local Government (page 17)

Fewer cuts needed, says South Lanarkshire Council leader (BBC)

Budget plans torn up after £4.5m windfall (Courier)