Magazine article Public Finance

Swinney Defends Local Government Agreement

Magazine article Public Finance

Swinney Defends Local Government Agreement

Article excerpt

Finance Secretary John Swinney has defended Scotland's local government concordat against claims it is on the verge of collapse because of the impact of the recession on council budgets.

He told a conference in Edinburgh on January 26 that the agreement between ministers and local authority leaders had not only produced a council tax freeze for 2008/09, but also freed local government from costly bureaucracy associated with ringfencing and given councils the freedom to react to local needs and priorities.

'Together we have delivered a great deal - not least a freeze on council tax at a time when hard-pressed householders needed it the most The resources are in place to allow councils to do the same again next year' the minister said.

Swinney s argument came after some councils, including Glasgow City, warned that it might not be possible to freeze council tax again in 2009/10 because of severe financial pressures.

There are also concerns about councils' ability to achieve policy aims agreed in the concordat, such as smaller class sizes and free school meals for five- to sevenyear-olds. …

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