Thu 4 Jul, 2019

The Scottish Greens have reversed the downward trend in the revenue settlement for councils, but the system of local government funding is in desperate need of change. Andy Wightman

New figures complied by Scottish Parliament researchers show the urgent need for reform of the way local government is funded, according to the Scottish Greens.

A new independent briefing from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) reveals the downward trend in the local government revenue settlement has been reversed since the Scottish Greens began to exert an influence over SNP budgets.

The Scottish Greens have secured £428 million additional funding from the Scottish Government for local government since the last election.

Local Government Finance Order figures for 2018-19 to 2019-20 show the revenue settlement for local government increases by 1 per cent, the first time it has grown more than the Scottish Government's revenue budget since 2013.

However, as COSLA have pointed out, the figures show council coffers are still stretched to the limit and austerity continues to bite.

Scottish Greens local government spokesperson Andy Wightman said: “The Scottish Greens have reversed the downward trend in the revenue settlement for councils, but the system of local government funding is in desperate need of change.

“We secured a commitment from the Scottish Government on the reform of council tax. We are in talks to ensure they deliver on that.

“Councils also need to be given more powers to raise revenue through other means, like our proposal for a tourist tax. Councils support this, even if their parties at Holyrood are less enthusiastic.

“If we want schools, social care and community facilities to be of a high quality, we need to find a fairer way of funding them, and we need to take the debate out of Holyrood’s control and put the power in the hands of communities.”

 

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