Scottish Councils' Debts - Councils running out of reserves
28th Nov 2017
A report from the Accounts Commission spells out the financial situation facing Scotland's 32 councils:
- Councils made £524m of savings in 2016-17 but were finding it increasingly difficult to identify and deliver savings
- A rising proportion of council funding is being directed towards national priorities such as education - this means councils have to look at deeper cuts in other services
- Overall council debt increased to £836m as councils were taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow more to invest in larger capital programmes
According to the Accounts Commission report, the funding provided by the Scottish government fell by 5.2% in 2016-17.
Its report said culture, planning and development and local roads have seen the sharpest falls in funding over the past three years.
The report focuses primarily on the financial year 2016-17 - the last year of the Scotland-wide council tax freeze.
The report notes that if all councils chose to raise council tax by 3%, it would only bring in £68m.
Ronnie Hinds, Deputy Chair of the Accounts Commission said:
"Our evidence tells us that councils are finding the financial pressures increasingly difficult to manage. The elections in May this year brought in major changes in council administrations across Scotland. Councils that have demonstrated effective leadership and robust planning will be in a better position to deal with the challenges that lie ahead."
Read the article and view the full report here.
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