Swinney outlines local government funding

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 20:55 on 6 February 2015

Scottish Government    North Lanarkshire Council

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.

NORTH Lanarkshire Council will receive a total funding package of £625,735,000 from the Scottish Government for the coming financial year, Finance Secretary John Swinney announced yesterday (5 February).

Announcing the budget before Members of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney confirmed that the Scottish Government will increase its revenue funding to Scottish local authorities from £9,914,021,000 between 2014 and 2015 to £9,994,059,000 between 2015 and 2016. 

In terms of the revenue funding to North Lanarkshire Council, the authority can expect to earn £625,735,000 from the Scottish Government – up from the £623,602,000 outlined in last year’s budget.

The funding package for North Lanarkshire Council is part of a £9,845.009 funding package to councils throughout Scotland – an increase on last year’s budget which dedicated £9,765,062 to local authority funding.

Mr Swinney confirmed that £27.600,000 had been set aside for the Teachers Induction Scheme, while a further £86,450,000 has been set aside by the government for Criminal Justice and Social Work services, nationally.

The funding package for North Lanarkshire Council means that funding per head in the local authority area is £1,970 for the year ahead. 

Finance Secretary John Swinney said that the Scottish Government was providing an overall funding settlement and a package of measures that aimed to help maintain and develop the services on which the people and businesses of Scotland depend.

In an Order laid before the Scottish Parliament yesterday, the Deputy First Minister said he and the Scottish Government were seeking Parliament’s approval for the distribution and payment of £9.8 billion out of the revenue total of almost £10 billion, with the remainder paid out as specific grant funding for which separate legislation already exists and other funding to be distributed later.

Commenting, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney said: “In 2015-16, the Scottish Government will provide councils with a total funding package worth over £10.85 billion to deliver services that enrich our nation.

“This Government has worked closely, and will continue to do so, with councils to agree an overall funding settlement and package to help maintain and improve these services.

“The Scottish Government is focused on securing economic growth, tackling inequality and protecting our public services and it’s great news for Scottish households who will be spared a raise in council tax for the eighth consecutive year. The £70 million to fund the council tax freeze will be added to individual local authority settlement totals for those councils who agree to freeze council tax in 2015-16. This will be made available in a further Order that I will bring to this Parliament next month.

“I will also use the second Order to distribute the funding for the Discretionary Housing Payments amounting to £35 million for next year which will enable this Government to fully mitigate the effects of the UK Government’s imposition of the spare room subsidy or bedroom tax and any further changes required as a result of the teacher numbers funding arrangements. I will also use the second Order to switch the £11 million between non domestic rates and general revenue grant as set out in the Budget Bill yesterday.

“This Government has been clear and consistent in our commitment to maintain teacher numbers. We know that the quality and capacity of our teaching workforce is critical to ensuring every child and young person has the best possible education and an equal opportunity to succeed.

“To help ensure delivery of the teacher numbers commitment, and in recognition of the general budget pressures authorities are facing, I announced yesterday a further £10 million for 2015-16 – a figure proposed by COSLA – in addition to the £41 million previously allocated to support this commitment.

“In order to protect that investment in teacher numbers this total resource of £51 million will only be available to local authorities on a council by council basis if they are prepared to sign up to a clear commitment to protect teacher numbers. Clearly any council that chooses not make and deliver on that commitment will not benefit from that funding. We will continue discussions on the delivery of the teacher number commitment with partners, including local government.

“In December, I confirmed that we will continue to match the English poundage rates for 2015-16 and reaffirms this Government’s commitment to maintaining the competitive advantage enjoyed by Scottish businesses since 2007.

“As a result of our decision to match the UK Government’s cap on the business rates poundage increase to 2 per cent, as explained yesterday I have allocated a compensating amount from the associated Barnett consequentials to match this reduction in income. By reducing the distributable Non Domestic Rates and increasing the General Revenue Grant total by the same amount will ensure that all 32 local authorities receive exactly the same total funding as set out in the Order before Parliament yesterday.

“Our extensive package of business rates reliefs also continues, worth around £618 million in 2015-16, offering enduring support for Scottish businesses. And our Community Empowerment Bill proposes the power for councils to offer further rate reliefs in their local areas.”