Council’s budget deal boost

The Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh.
The Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh.

Argyll and Bute Council will receive an additional £2.9 million increase in funding from the Scottish Government following a deal between the SNP and the Greens.

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie is hopeful that many proposed cuts to frontline services can now be scaled back and removed entirely. He said: “I am delighted that my Green MSP colleagues and I have been able to seal this monumental deal which will ensure Argyll and Bute Council’s proposed cuts can now be significantly reduced. This deal demonstrates how electing Greens can make a real difference to communities. I have continuously pressed for these cuts to be scrapped and I’m thrilled that we have delivered a fair settlement

“The budget agreement will see those earning lower than average incomes pay less income tax, it will ensure the vast majority of public sector staff including nurses and teachers receive a pay rise linked to inflation and provide more investment in communities.

“While other parties continue to posture from the side-lines, Greens are making Highland and Scotland fairer. This agreement is the latest step in a journey on restoring financial powers at local level, on which we will need to see far more progress before next year’s budget, as the annual fight against council cuts must not continue.”

Commenting, SNP MSP Michael Russell said: “The draft budget shows that where Scotland has the power, the SNP will take a different, fairer approach – and give Scots the best deal in the UK.

“Thanks to the decisions made by the Scottish Government, Argyll and Bute Council will see an above inflation rise in their revenue funding. That’s a good deal for taxpayers and for public services in Argyll and Bute – and is only possible because of the SNP’s progressive tax reforms, that are backed by the public by two to one.

“In the face of massive Westminster cuts, the Scottish Government is using its powers progressively to invest in our schools and our hospitals – and in communities across Argyll and Bute.”