‘Clarity needed’ on council funding to fight coronavirus

Scottish Conservatives call for more transparency on how funding is being allocated to local authorities.

‘Clarity needed’ on council funding to fight coronavirus Getty Images

The Scottish Government should reveal how much money councils are receiving to help fight the impact of coronavirus, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The Scottish Government has received around £155m to help local authorities as services, including health and social care, are struggling to cope.

However, care homes across the country have begun expressing concerns as the money is not filtering through in some places, leading the Conservatives to call for more transparency on how the money is being handled.

Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw said: “There is increasing public appetite for full transparency when it comes to the allocation of funds.

“We know there is £155m to be spent across Scotland by local authorities to help facilities like care homes battle this intense crisis.

“But the SNP government needs to go further than just a press announcement. It must publish in detail how this £155m has been spent and where.

“People need to know how much extra their local council has been given.”

He added: “We’re still waiting for the SNP to publish in detail how it has passed on money for economic support.

“Workers and residents in care homes won’t accept similar delays for this fund.”

Earlier this week, care home owner Robert Kilgour said only certain councils had so far passed the cash on, prompting questions about where the full £155m had been allocated.

He said homes in Dumfries and Galloway and Fife had been given support, but his facilities in other parts of the country had not.

His demands echo calls from COSLA, who has also demanded action on the passing on of the £155m from Westminster.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “We are in regular contact with Cosla about funding and other operational issues associated with the Covid-19 response.

“We will make any decisions about further funding in consultation with Cosla, reflecting any cost pressures, reprioritisation work and additional financial flexibilities.

“The Scottish Government has already committed direct additional funding to local authorities of £175.6m – including a £50m hardship fund, £45m to the Scottish Welfare Fund, £15m each for Free School Meals and the Food Fund, and a £50m boost for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Social Security.”