Tories 'clueless' on council funding says MSP

Stewart Stevenson says the Tories are 'clueless' on council funding
Stewart Stevenson says the Tories are 'clueless' on council funding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has criticised the Tories for being clueless on Council Tax and scaremongering in the North-east.Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has criticised the Tories for being clueless on Council Tax and scaremongering in the North-east.

The Scottish Budget confirmed Tory threats of money being transferred to the central belt were utterly false. The Tories in the North-east have stated that money raised through Council Tax reform would be taken by the Scottish Government to fund the attainment gap in other parts of the country.

Outlining the 2017-18 Local Government settlement as part of the Scottish Government Draft Budget, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay said that the £111 million of additional Council Tax revenues expected to be raised from reform of the upper bands will be available to be spent locally. He announced the Scottish Government will use its own resources to fund £120 million going to schools to close the attainment gap.

Support from the Scottish Government and local taxation provides an increase in spending power on local government services, not of £59.6 million, but of £240.6 million or 2.3 per cent. Aberdeenshire will benefit from a distributable budget of £431.8 million plus £8.3 million raised via local tax reform, totalling £440.2 million in support for services.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said: “The Cabinet Secretary has been consistent on this – money raised locally will be spent locally. The Tories are either clueless or they have been deliberately scaremongering the people of the North-east.

“The money raised in the North-east is staying here. Aberdeenshire Council will have another £8.3 million to spend because of these reforms. This money will play an important role in improving services in the North-east.

“It’s time for the Tories to stop scaring our communities with falsehoods. The Tories essentially threatened people with the idea that their Council Tax money was going to disappear down south – this budget proves that was utterly false and it’s time they admit that.”