South Scotland Labour MSP has criticised the SNP Scottish Government as new figures revealed that the Government have slashed Dumfries and Galloway Council’s funding by £155 per person since 2013/14.

New figures published in a report by the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) show that between 2013/14 and 2019/20 the Scottish Government have reduced the Local Government Settlement for Dumfries and Galloway Council by £155 per person. In real terms that meant a decrease of £27.4m or 8.6% cut over the five years.

During the same period the cut to the overall Scottish Budget as a result of Tory austerity was 2.8%.

The Report also highlighted that the Local Government Settlement for 2019/20 contained a high level of ring-fenced funds for the Council. The Government ring fences funding so it can direct to local authorities how that money to be spent. In 2019/20 £11.3 million of the Local Government Settlement contained ring fenced allocation, which was 3.9% of the total budget. In 2013/14 there the Government only ring fenced £100,000.

Colin Smyth said, “This report exposes the extent to which the Scottish Government are imposing severe cuts to local authority budgets. Slashing council funding by £155 per person over the last 5 years has led to cuts across schools, social care, roads and other local amenities. That is almost £30 million- the equivalent of almost the entire estimated budget of the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency in its first year.

With the Scottish Government increasing the use of ring fencing – where councils have no choice how to spend it’s money- it also means that councils have to make cuts to local priorities to pay for SNP manifesto commitments.

With Dumfries and Galloway Councils budget being cut by 8.6% in real terms since 2013/14 the Scottish Government really have turbo-charged UK Government austerity onto local councils and communities. Scottish Labour have long argued for the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to end the cuts to schools, social care and local infrastructure.”

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