The SNP have been accused of robbing essential local services of £1 billion by failing to properly fund councils.
Scottish Conservative analysis found that if local authorities received the same share of the budget as 2007-08, local services would have been £1 billion better off in 2019-20 alone.
Douglas Ross today further outlined the party’s plans to enshrine fair funding for councils in law.
The proposal would create a ‘Barnett Formula for councils’, a permanent financial settlement ensuring their budgets would be protected.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “If councils had the same share of the Scottish Budget as they got before the SNP came to power, essential local services would be a billion pounds better off.
“They’ve hoarded power and funding at Holyrood and we’ve all seen the result. Local schools are not quite what they used to be, potholes expand in number and size, and bin collections are less frequent.
“The Scottish Conservative solution is simple – give councils a permanent fair share of the budget.
“The SNP are quick to blame the UK Government, even when funding is hitting record highs, but they’ll happily raid and rob councils to make up for all the cash they’ve wasted on ferries that don’t float, failing IT systems and hospitals that open nine years late.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives would restore power to local communities, stop the SNP’s drive to centralise power and halt their push for another divisive referendum.”
From 2007/8 to 2019/20 the local government funding as a percentage of SNP Government spending has fallen from 35.9 per cent to 33.1 per cent. In 2019-20 funding to local authorities was £11.4 billion, with the Scottish Government budget being £34.4 billion. In 2007-8, funding to local authorities was £10.7 billion and the Scottish Government budget was £29.7 billion. (SPICe, Local Government Finance: facts and figures, 1999-2017, 10 March 2016, p13, link; SPICe, Local Government Finance: Facts and Figures 2013-14 to 2020-21, 24 June 2020, p31, link)
If our proposal had been introduced last year it would have seen council funding increase by £1 billion. If we restored the Scottish Government grant to councils to the same share of the budget that they were in 2007, councils would have almost £1 billion more to spend.