William Eichler 24 February 2017

Scotland’s Budget ‘simply’ reduced local gov cut, councils say

Scottish councils have criticised new Budget as ‘simply a reduction’ in the local government cuts that were already planned.

Holyrood has described its 2017-18 Budget — passed yesterday by the Scottish parliament — as a ‘strong settlement’ for local government.

It includes an additional £160m investment — agreed at Stage 2 of the Budget Bill — to support local services.

Overall, it secures an additional £900m of expenditure, including £60m to expand early learning and childcare, £120m for schools, and £4bn of infrastructure investment.

Describing the Bill, finance secretary Derek Mackay said: ‘This budget secures Scotland’s social contract with investment in public services on a massive scale, support for our economy and help for those on low incomes.’

However, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) responded on Twitter, arguing the ‘additional £160m investment’ was just a reduction of cuts already in the pipeline.

‘This is not further money for councils - it is simply a reduction in the cut that we were going to get. Still a cut of over £200m,’ a spokesperson wrote.

 

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