Glasgow & West Scotland

Councils agree Scottish government budget settlement

BBC Scotland understands a majority of councils have accepted the spending settlement outlined by the Scottish government in last week's budget.

The agreement was secured at a meeting of council leaders, held in private, at the local authority umbrella body - Cosla.

The deal was rejected by some Labour-controlled councils, including Glasgow.

As part of the settlement, all local authorities are expected to continue with a freeze on council tax.

Financial climate

The SNP group leader in Cosla, Councillor Ronnie McColl, of West Dunbartonshire Council, said: "In the present financial climate, we are delighted with the proposed resource allocation and we will work with the Scottish government to implement positive policies, delivering the shared priorities of the people we represent."

However, the leader of Glasgow City Council, Labour's Gordon Matheson said: "Cosla has accepted the settlement despite the fact it's riddled with holes and unanswered questions."

Mr Matheson said the terms of the deal were punishing Glasgow and accused Finance Secretary John Swinney of "making this up as he goes along" and being part of "a domineering Scottish government".

His opposition to the deal was echoed by Labour's local government spokesman Michael MacMahon.

He said: "John Swinney is trying to bully councils with threats of financial sanctions if they do not do his bidding.

"They are facing real terms cuts in spending while John Swinney is passing on the responsibility to them for the SNP pledges on the council tax freeze, police numbers and teacher numbers."

Deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament's Local Government committee, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart, said: "Everyone is facing a tightening of belts because of Westminster cuts, and this is a good settlement for local government which Cosla has agreed to.

"Throughout the Spending Review, local government will receive a bigger share of resource funds controlled by the Scottish government, including business rates, than the position inherited in 2007-08.

"As a result, key local services and priorities are protected - including the 1,000 extra police delivered by the SNP government, and opposed by Labour, and the council tax freeze."

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