“Let’s have a balanced debate”

Monday February 13th 2023


This View has been written by Councillor Peter Smaill (Midlothian East Conservative)

Recently, there have been a number of misleading statements by local SNP politicians to the effect that the Scottish Government has produced a fair settlement for local government and that our current financial constraints are the fault of ‘Westminster’. 

Let’s have a balanced debate. UK Government support for Scotland stands at a record £41bn in the block grants. Spending per head in Scotland is £2,184 higher than in the rest of the UK. Therefore, it is clear that UK Government strongly supports Scotland’s public services. 

The SNP are happy to spend, but all in the wrong areas. Coming next year is the Scottish National Care Service. This is an unwanted reorganisation of social care expected to cost between £664m and £1.261 bn over five years. An entirely avoidable and expensive vanity project, with little thought on how such a project would work in practice. 

The true effect of the SNP’s underfunding on Councils is plain for all to see. The Fraser of Allander Institute, an independent body, has stated that a 4.9% real cut is coming. This will cost Midlothian about £14m. 

Far from prioritising Midlothian, the SNP government will again force us to transfer over £3m to shrinking councils. Each £550,000 of the Midlothian shortfall could cause a 1% increase in Midlothian’s Council tax.- so we may be faced with higher bills just to prop up local authorities in the West of Scotland while receiving no relief in respect of Midlothian’s fast growth and associated costs.

The reality is this. 

The SNP run Scotland.

The SNP run Midlothian Council. 

The SNP control the NHS. 

The buck stops with the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon

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