Ellie Ames 08 April 2024

Scottish councils’ debt is one-and-a-half times funding

Scottish councils’ debt is one-and-a-half times funding image
Image: Vitalii Stock / Shutterstock.com

The debt of councils in Scotland is more than one-and-a-half times the latest local government funding settlement, the Scottish Conservatives have found.

Local authority debt in the devolved nation has reached £21.8bn, compared to around £14bn allocated to councils for 2024-25.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Liz Smith said the situation was ‘eye-watering’ and ‘unsustainable’, and ‘the direct consequence of years of SNP neglect and underfunding’.

She also said Holyrood's recent council tax freeze means debt is likely to grow.

Ms Smith said: ‘It’s only a matter of time before a Scottish council goes bust unless the SNP Government finally agree to a fair funding deal.’

A Scottish Government spokesperson noted that the debt figures include the costs of private finance initiatives and public-private partnership contracts.

The spokesperson added: ‘Ministers are aware that many councils are under financial pressure, which is why the 2024-25 Scottish Budget provides record funding for local government of over £14bn.’

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