Council leaders to seek urgent meeting with Deputy First Minister on budget

Saturday February 10th 2024

COSLA


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Following a special meeting yesterday Council Leaders are seeking an urgent further meeting with the Deputy First Minister in relation to the Budget settlement for Scottish Local Government, highlighting the dire consequences of the Government’s current spending plans on communities throughout Scotland.

Commenting following the meeting the COSLA Resources Spokesperson Councillor Katie Hagmann said:

“Leaders were clear today that an urgent meeting with the Deputy First Minister is a priority.

“Leaders expressed anger at the Budget setting timetable which has left Councils unable to set their budgets due to a lack of certainty from Scottish Government and as a result of having to wait until UK Government Spring Statement before knowing what additional funding could be passed on.

“In addition, there was a clear direction from Leaders to seek restoration of the £63m cut to the core Local Government budget on behalf of their communities and the essential services they rely on at the meeting with the DFM.

“Leaders also agreed that the council tax freeze should be on a voluntary basis with agreement that the £147m, already earmarked by Scottish Government for this purpose, is distributed to all Councils with flexibility to raise Council Tax by up to 5%.There should also be no penalty or reduction in funding in line with the principles of the Verity House Agreement.

“Leaders were clear that Councils should be given full flexibility of funding to deploy within Schools, and the wider community, to provide the right support for the diverse needs of children and young people across Scotland, therefore recognising that a wide range of people who contribute to a child’s education.

“Finally, Leaders agreed to seek a guarantee that the £45m Barnett consequentials resulting from the UK Government’s recent announcement will be passed in full to councils, also in accordance with the Verity House Agreement so it can be used to address local priorities.”

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