Scottish councils to receive extra £100m boost, reveals John Swinney

The deputy first minister said the cash would help fund a pay deal for staff to avoid scenes of rubbish piling up in city streets like last year.

Scottish councils to receive extra £100m boost in budget, reveals John Swinney STV News

Councils across Scotland have received a last-minute funding boost of £100m, the deputy first minister has announced.

Ahead of a vote on the Scottish Government’s budget, John Swinney revealed the UK Government had provided a £146m boost from Barnett consequentials and a forecasting error.

Swinney said part of the cash would be spent on a pay deal for non-teaching staff.

Local authorities had hit out at the Scottish Government claiming the real terms increase of £570m touted at the beginning of the process could actually be as low as £71m when ring-fenced Government initiatives were taken into account.

John Swinney announced the budget plans on Tuesday.STV News

Swinney said the new funding package represented a 3% real terms increase to council funding compared with last year’s budget.

“The total funding available to councils to support local services will be nearly £13.5bn, plus the revenues from any local decisions on council tax,” the acting finance secretary said.

Swinney was speaking ahead of stage three debate on the Budget (Scotland) Bill on Tuesday amid the ongoing race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister.

Scottish Labour’s shadow finance secretary, Daniel Johnson MSP, said: “This is not a budget that will last. I don’t see any of the leadership candidates, once elected, leaving the budget well alone.

“It will last as long as the next summer budget revision because we already have leadership candidates saying what they would do differently.”

Swinney said he hoped the extra money for councils would help avoid similar scenes to last year when cleansing workers and others went on strike leaving streets to pile up with rubbish.

Arts and culture body Creative Scotland had faced a 10% funding cut, but Swinney announced it would now receive an extra £6.6m.

The budget will also increase taxes on higher and middle earners, with all Scots earning more than £43,662 facing a rise in income tax to provide extra funding for the NHS.

Scottish Conservative finance spokeswoman Liz Smith said it was important to focus on the highest earners as well as those most in need, if the economy is to grow.

She told MSPs: “We have to make sure we are also helping those that are at the very productive end of Scotland and who want to come and live and work and invest in Scotland, because that is as important as looking after our vulnerable communities.”

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