The Scottish government was the bearer of bad news for the SIC on Thursday when it announced that its revenue support grant will be £1.1 million less than what the local authority was planning for.
Noises emanating from Edinburgh mean the reduced grant for 2010/11 has not come as a great surprise to head of finance Graham Johnston, who had been expecting a cut roughly in that region. He will now put a report before councillors on 9th December.
The grant will be £94.7 million next year, as opposed to the anticipated £95.8 million – a further financial blow in the same week that Audit Scotland reminded councillors that they are still dipping into their oil reserves to support revenue spending. “It is a problem that we will have to debate,” said Mr Johnston. “We will need to get into the real nitty-gritty.”
It is an increase on the £92.3 million received last year, broadly in line with a nationwide increase which sees revenue support to Scotland’s 32 local authorities rise by 2.9 per cent year-on-year to nearly £12 billion. But the Scottish Labour Party claimed yesterday that finance secretary John Swinney had “picked the pocket of local government”.
Mr Swinney said the settlement was good news for householders and businesses: “By working in partnership with local councils and providing the funding for a third successive council tax freeze, we are easing the financial strain on households feeling the effects of these tough economic times.”