Scottish councils ask UK Government for cash after tax freeze row

Argyll and Bute is the third council to ask the UK Government to send any additional Barnett funding from the budget this week.

Argyll and Bute local authorities appeal to UK government amid council tax row iStock

Local authorities have appealed to the UK government asking for support in ensuring they get funding amid council tax row.

Argyll and Bute is the third council to ask the UK Government to send any additional Barnett funding from the budget directly to the region.

It comes after the council rejected the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze saying it would be forced to cut services if it did not raise tax, and faced a funding gap of more than £40m.

The council joins Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire who are also seeking UK Government support in getting funding to all councils.

The Scottish Government deputy first minister indicated that should £45m of Barnett funding flow from the UK Government as part of its spring budget, it will be passed on to Scottish local authorities.

Argyll and Bute Council said its share would be expected to be around £800,000.

However, this funding would only be made available to councils that have frozen council tax in their regions.

Glasgow, Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire have all agreed to freeze council tax.

Council leader, councillor Robin Currie said: “Communities need council services to live well locally. Council services need funding.

“Increasing council tax was an extremely difficult decision to take but it was the one we had to take, to save vital services and jobs.

“The Scottish Government funding settlement available to the council on the basis of a council tax freeze would have meant cuts to services.

“Reducing the quality of life in Argyll and Bute by cutting vital council services would not only have affected people’s day-to-day lives but would also have been counter-productive to our urgent need to grow our population and economy.

“The amount of additional funding potentially available would not be enough to remove the council tax increase but would provide welcome protection for services against budget gaps we know are coming in future years.

“If more much needed funding becomes available, people in Argyll and Bute have a right to receive their share, and we are seeking the UK Government’s support in getting it.”

West Dunbartonshire Council has been contacted for comment.

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