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Local council-run services are under threat from cuts to their core budgets by the SNP-led Scottish Government.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron spoke of his concerns after questioning SNP minister Ben Macpherson in the Scottish Parliament yesterday. (Wednesday January 19)

“Across Scotland the SNP have cut funding for the services provided by Scotland’s councils by no less than £371m, despite a record settlement from the UK Government.

“It’s no wonder that all 32 councils – even those controlled by the SNP – have voiced objections to the unfair way they have been treated.

The Scottish Conservative MSP also emphasised the threat posed by an increasing trend to ‘ring-fencing’ where Holyrood provides money to councils exclusively for the delivery of its own centrally devised policies.

“Making matters even worse is that almost 18% of council budgets have been ring-fenced for Scottish Government initiatives, which is up from just 4% in 2018/19, a four-fold increase.

“This means that local councils have much less money available to meet local priorities, such as fixing potholes or recruiting teachers. 

“While it may be possible for some authorities in the Central Belt to save money by pooling services, the geography and low population density of the Highlands and Islands makes that very difficult to do here.

“We already have a huge backlog of crumbling infrastructure caused by years of under-investment by the SNP, and this will only worsen if ministers don’t change their centralising approach.”