Western Isles Council confirms its bid to secure additional funds from Government ministers

The Comhairle has this week confirmed that it is seeking to secure additional funding for its services from Scottish Government Ministers.

COSLA, the organisation which represents Scotland’s local authorities, recently launched a major campaign to secure increases in core funding for local councils, and for specific planned expansions of services by the Scottish Government, and it allocates funds to individual local authorities based on an agreed formula.

But this week, a Comhairle spokesperson confirmed that the authority is also looking to increase funding from other Government sources.

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The Comhairle spokesperson said: “As well as ongoing engagement via Cosla, the Comhairle continues to make progress outside the settlement in looking for additional funds.

“To that end the Leader, Committee Chairs and senior officers are meeting regularly with ministers and indeed recently have engaged directly with Derek Mackay the Finance and Economy minister.

“Whilst the in-Cosla settlement is largely determined by formula, outside of that structure there is potential for capital and revenue income streams and we actively pursue these.”

Western Isles MSP, Dr Alasdair Allan said: “Scotland has suffered a decade under Tory austerity. Despite sustained cuts by the UK Government to Scotland’s budget, local government as a whole has been treated fairly.

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“I am sure that will continue to be the case when the Scottish Government’s budget is presented to the Scottish Parliament by the Finance Secretary next month. But the Scottish Government will continue to make the argument against the UK’s policy of austerity which has an impact on all our public services.”

The Comhairle is facing the possiblity of having to make significant savings to its existing budget – for some departments equalling a quarter of their spend – and has launched a community consultation process in a bid to secure ‘Service Redesign’, with significant local community input into the future running of some local services, and with aim of improving services, avoiding significant or compulsory staff reductions and securing the required savings.

The decision on levels of local government funding will be revealed in the Scottish Budget in early December.