Scotland politics

Scottish ministers in council funding offer

Scotland's 32 councils will get almost £10bn in funding between them next year, finance secretary John Swinney has said.

Some of the cash is conditional on local authorities freezing council tax and meeting commitments on teacher employment.

Mr Swinney said the deal was the best on offer, given the current economic climate.

Council group Cosla said it did not give local government any more money.

Councils, which need to individually agree to the funding offer, will receive more than £9.9bn in 2013-14, including income from non-domestic rates.

Mr Swinney said local authorities which did not continue the council tax freeze, maintain teachers in line with pupil numbers or provide places for all probationary teachers would "not receive their full share of the package of resources".

'Deals done'

The finance secretary said: "This funding settlement delivers for local authorities and communities across Scotland.

"Despite the most dramatic reduction in public spending ever imposed on Scotland by the UK government, the total support for local government in 2013-14 will amount to over £9.9bn, including revenue and capital funding and funding from non-domestic rates.

"This represents an increase in funding for councils of £35.2 million for new or extended service delivery compared to 2012-13."

A total of £109m of the overall figure will go to councils which agree to the conditions, with £70m set aside for the council tax freeze, and £39m for the teaching commitments.

Local authorities will get £9.4bn revenue funding to cover day-to-day running costs in 2013-14, with £500,000 of capital funding.

Cosla said it was "factually correct" to say councils were getting an extra £32.5m, but a spokesman added: "We must make it clear that this does not give local government any more money.

"It is all for parts of deals done with government. In fact, in a couple of the areas that the £35.2m is for, local government is having to commit matched funding to the order of £20m, which restricts our flexibility."

Stephanie Herd, of the trade union Unison, called for an end to the council-tax freeze.

Mr Swinney also announced a review of business rates and reaffirmed the Scottish government's commitment to match rates in Scotland to those in England.

He said there would be a revaluation in 2017 instead of 2015, to keep in line with the UK government.

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