We've funded councils fairly, claims Swinney

JOHN Swinney has said there can be "no argument" that council have not been fairly funded as he revealed amounts for local authorities for the next two years.

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The Finance Secretary said local authorities would receive £10.6 billion next year and despite cuts from Westminster he was protecting councils for the reductions.

However, in Glasgow council bosses said more than £150m has been taken from the city.

Mr Swinney said: "The Scottish Government is committed to a partnership with Cosla to shield communities from the worst of the cuts."

He said local government revenues would increase by .2% is cash terms.

Mr Swinney said: "There is no argument times have been tough, but local government has been fairly funded."

The figures show Glasgow's total goes down from £1238.8m to £1179.046m

Mr Swinney said: "Local government provides a wide range of services and plays a major role in local partnerships that are essential to the delivery of the services that matter to the people of Scotland. The allocations include resources to enable local authorities to continue to freeze their council tax, which is an important measure to protect household incomes in Scotland.

"This settlement of almost £10.6 billion comes at a time when, as a result of Westminster's austerity agenda, our spending power has been cut by around 11.1 per cent in real terms between 2010-16."

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson, said: "Ever since this Government came to power, it has gleefully hacked away at Glasgow's share of the local government budget, so I'm sorry to say that these figures are exactly what we expected.

"On the face of it, we have to find £70.3 million of savings over two years, but the real figure being taken out of the city by Ministers is more than £153m."

Renfrewshire Council said it disagreed with Mr Swinney and said they have been treated unfairly.

Mark Macmillan, council leader, said: "Instead of giving Renfrewshire a fair deal, he has continued the Scottish Government's Renfrewshire Deficit, which amounts to an underfunding of £14 million each year.

"That affects people and communities across Renfrewshire."

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, asked the Finance Secretary how long before council fees and charges would be the larger amount of their income.

Mr Swinney said that was a matter for individual councils.

Local government

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