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SNP urged to divert Westminster funds straight to struggling local councils

THE SNP was urged today to divert funding from Westminster straight to local councils to help save struggling services.

Opposition politicians in Holyrood have said that the Scottish government must pass on any funding sent as part of the Westminster government’s spending plans to be announced this week. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil plans for significant investment in local government in England, which will mean millions in Barnett consequentials allocated to Scotland.

Labour said that money from Barnett consequentials could help councils mitigate the effects of lost income as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Covid-19 crisis follows cuts to local authority budgets in Scotland during the current parliamentary term.

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “Our local authorities were facing a massive funding gap before the Covid-19 crisis hit and they are about to experience even more uncertainty as they attempt to recover and rebuild their local communities.

“The SNP government has failed repeatedly to give councils the financial support they need, cutting local authority budgets at more than twice the rate they have seen their own finances fall.

“Finance Secretary Kate Forbes needs to get behind our councils and offer the solutions they need to keep vital services going and support the reopening of our schools.”

Speaking during today’s daily briefing, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called again for an £80 billion stimulus package for Britain’s economy, saying the funding announced this week must meet the scale of the challenges facing Scots.

“The more of a fiscal stimulus [Sunak] delivers the more opportunity there will be for the Scottish government to pass that on here in Scotland,” she said.

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