Councils to share over £9.9 billion next year
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:20
Finance Secretary John Swinney today announced funding allocations for Scotland's councils for the next year.
The funding settlement, which is agreed with local authority group the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), will see councils receive a cash increase in funding of £35.2 million for new or extended service delivery compared to 2012-13.
The funding allocations reflect the restructuring of local services through the creation of the new Police Authority and Fire Service and the subsequent transfer of resources.
The settlement includes resources for councils to continue the council tax freeze to help families in tough economic times; to maintain teacher numbers in line with pupil numbers and secure places for all probationers under the teacher induction scheme.
The Finance Secretary also announced a consultation on the future of business rates as he confirmed the poundage rate would be matched with England.
Mr Swinney said:
"This funding settlement delivers for local authorities and communities across Scotland.
"Despite the most dramatic reduction in public spending ever imposed on Scotland by the UK Government, the total support for local government in 201314 will amount to over £9.9 billion, including revenue and capital funding and funding from non-domestic rates. This represents an increase in funding for the services councils of £35.2 million for new or extended service delivery compared to 2012-13.
"As part of our agreement with COSLA's leadership the settlement will help local authorities to deliver the council tax freeze and maintain teacher numbers.
"Alongside this funding we are working with local government to support council tax benefit reform, welfare reform, and health and social care reform, protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
"To ensure Scotland maintains its competitive advantage, we have today launched a consultation on business rates, which aims to establish a more user-friendly and transparent rates system that benefits business.
"The consultation will run for three months and contributions will inform decisions on the best way forward for businesses and local authorities across Scotland.
"The Scottish Government will take the time we need to get reform of the business rates system right. Before 2007 the poundage rate in Scotland was set higher than that of the rest of the UK putting Scottish business at a competitive disadvantage. That is a danger that must be avoided.
"Following the UK Government's decision to delay the revaluation in England to 2017 we will ensure our commitment to a competitive business environment is not undermined so we will match that date and reform the business rates system. We will undertake the next revaluation as part of a wider examination of business taxes available to us under independence, ensuring Scotland maintains our competitive edge compared to other parts of the UK."