The SNP Government’s proposal to allocate a further £7.3 million to North Ayrshire Council (NAC) has been approved by MSPs.
Across Scotland, almost £258 million of additional funding for vital local services, such as food provision for those in need, education and social care, has been approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The provision of a further £72 million is being agreed with the Convention of Local Authorities (CoSLA) and will be subject to Parliamentary approval in due course. This will bring the total additional funding provided to help Scotland’s local authorities combat coronavirus (COVID-19) to almost £330 million.
This extra funding is on top of the local government finance settlement of £11.4 billion, which already provided an increase of £589.4 million (5.8%) compared to the previous year.
To prevent local authorities experiencing cash flow problems the SNP Government is providing £455 million in weekly advanced payments to councils until Parliamentary approval is secured. Councils received an additional £150 million in May, £255 million in June, and will receive £50 million in July.
Public Finance Minister Ben Macpherson MSP said:
“We have taken exceptional measures in every area of government as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19 - and that is particularly clear in our support for local services. To date, Scotland’s councils have received £405 million in advanced payments this financial year, and by the end of July this will have risen to £455 million.
“The Scottish Government has also relaxed current guidance on some of the education grants to allow additional resource to be diverted to the COVID-19 response.
“We will continue to work with CoSLA and local authorities, as well as pressing the UK Government for urgent additional funding and flexibility for our partners in local government.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Local authorities are hugely important for the delivery of key services at the best of times, but during this pandemic it is crucial that they have enough funding to do the ground work to provide support in the heart of our communities without getting into financial difficulties.
“I was pleased to vote in favour of distributing more cash to North Ayrshire Council to further support the delivery of services in light of COVID-19 and I know this additional £7.3 million will be spent well by officers.”