Councils set to receive £10.6 billion in funding

Woodhill House, Aberdeen.
Woodhill House, Aberdeen.

Funding for Scotland’s councils will total almost £10.6 billion next year, John Swinney announced last week.

The settlement package includes funding to maintain the council tax freeze and a further £81 million in 2014-15 to fund the additional cost of early learning and childcare provision for three and four year olds, increasing the number of hours per child to 600 a year.

Increases in rates paid by businesses will be capped at below the level of inflation and the Small Business Bonus Scheme will be expanded to benefit over 4,000 eligible additional properties, for the lifetime of this Parliament.

The Scottish government is also providing £20 million this year and next year to limit the impact of the bedroom tax on households in Scotland.

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.

“Business rates play a part in attracting and retaining businesses in Scotland. In the autumn budget statement last week the Chancellor announced that the annual increase in the business rates poundage in England and Wales would be capped at 2 per cent.

“To maintain the competitive advantage enjoyed by Scottish businesses and maintain Scotland’s position as the best place to do business, we will match that cap and restrict the increase in the rates business pay to 2 percent.

“And to reinforce our commitments detailed in Scotland’s Future, we will go further in our support for small business.

“We will expand the Small Business Bonus Scheme to help even more small businesses.”