Scottish Parliament Local Government Committee to look into councils’ use of budgets
The committee will examine how councils use revenue as well as the effect of direct charges
Bob Doris - Image credit: Scottish Parliament
A Scottish Parliament committee is to look into the way that councils use their revenue budgets.
The Local Government and Communities Committee has announced it will carry out a review of local government spending ahead of its scrutiny of the Scottish Government's draft budget for 2018/19, which will be published towards the end of the year.
As part of its work, the committee wants to know how local authorities prioritise spending as their budgets are under increasing pressure and to assess the impact of increased direct charges.
This could include changes to the charges, for example, for parking, burial services, gyms or public toilets.
The committee will also explore the ways in which local government finances may evolve over time, such as the recent announcement of a local democracy bill in the Programme for Government that could give local communities with a say in how at least one per cent of council funds are spent.
Local Government and Communities Committee Convener, Bob Doris MSP, said: "We know that local governments have been facing financial challenges for a long time because of growing demands on their services and significant revenue budget cuts, as part of UK-wide reductions in public sector budgets.
“We want to ensure that a fully transparent position of local government finances can be established, which takes into account other funding streams within councils such as Pupil Equity Funds, health and social care integration funds and City Deal resources.
“While local authorities have been making savings over previous years, the future shape of the local government settlement is changing and this may pose a level of uncertainty they’ve not previously had to cope with.
“We now want to hear from the public, local authorities and stakeholder groups on what areas local governments are currently prioritising and whether resources are managed effectively."
A £500m payout has been agreed in principle between council leader Susan Aitken and trade unions and lawyers representing council workers
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The new funding is part of the Tay Cities Region Deal, which is supported by the Scottish and UK governments
This follows the publication of a full breakdown of what each council in Scotland will receive