The Scottish Government has seen a year on year increase, in cash terms, to the block grant from Westminster. But local government grants from the Scottish Government have been frozen since they came to power in 2007.
Spending Review figures, from the Scottish Parliament research team, show that Barnett consequentials for 2016/17 will increase the Scottish Government budget by £500m in this financial year. Even so, due to SNP-austerity and manditory council tax freezes, the Highland Council will be forced to find another £50m of savings this financial year.
For the first time ever the Scottish Government has new tax powers that could be used to alleviate the wort of the cuts, but the SNP in Edinburgh have refused. Instead opting to tie Scottish Government spending to the Conservative Government in Westminster.
Highland Councillor and deputy Lib Dem group leader Thomas Prag said: “We’re always hearing the SNP say ‘it’s Westminster fault’, but the truth is that the cuts to our schools and charities in the Highlands is SNP-austerity.
“Every year the money available for the Scottish Government has increased, meanwhile they expect local government to cope with less and less.
“This year alone, the Council administration will have to find £50m of savings. That means less money for roads, schools, homes, and charity organisations and less money for council services like gritting, bin lorries and social services.
“The Scottish Lib Dems have said that we would put a penny on the pound to raise £500m for education in Scotland, but the SNP have said they’re happy with Westminster tax levels set by the Tory Government. Who are they kidding?”
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