Funding cuts cost Edinburgh residents £226 per head

CUTS in Scottish Government funding to the city council have cost Edinburgh residents more than £200 a head over the past five years, a new official analysis has revealed.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 9:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 9:06 am

The percentage fall in funding in the Capital is more per person than anywhere else on mainland Scotland, according to the independent report by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice).

It showed financial support from central government to Edinburgh was down by £226 per head between 2013-14 and 2018-19, which works out at a 5.7 per cent reduction when the city’s growing population is taken into account.

Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson seized on the figures to attack the Scottish Government.

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Funding cuts have cost the city £226 per head in five years according to a new independent analysis. Picture: TSPL

He said: “These figures show the price of SNP austerity for Edinburgh.

“The SNP has slashed funding for lifeline services in recent years – and that translates as a cut of more than £200 a head since 2013-14 for people in Edinburgh.

“Edinburgh is a growing city, but the Scottish Government are actually reducing the amount of support for the Capital.

“The SNP leader of Edinburgh’s council called this a ‘very strong deal’. I think he ought to explain to residents how losing millions from Edinburgh’s local services is a good deal for the Capital.”

The report said Edinburgh’s funding was cut by £66 million over the five-year period, a reduction of 8.4 per cent at a time when the city’s population increased by 30,580 or 6.1 per cent.

The Spice analysis found council funding per person had dropped in all 32 of Scotland’s local authority areas. The average fall was £148 per head.

The cuts cost East Lothian residents £132 per head, Midlothian £141 and West Lothian £79.

Despite the level of the cuts highlighted in the Spice report, city council leader Adam McVey said the figures pointed to the continued economic success of the Capital.

He said: “Funding for local services increased this year in Edinburgh when we had been expecting a reduction in resources. This strong budget deal was alongside the £1.1 billion city deal investment, bringing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Scottish Government, as well as almost £40m agreed just last month to deliver early years provision in Edinburgh.

“While Daniel Johnson carps from the sidelines, our SNP-Labour coalition is getting on with the job and delivering for the people of Edinburgh.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the Spice report excluded a number of additional funding sources, including £355m for health and social care and £150m funding provided outwith the core settlement, but which benefited local government.

“When those are included, there has been a slight decrease of just 0.8 per cent between 2013 and 2019, compared to a 1.8 per cent cut to the Scottish Government revenue budget over the same period.”

He added that this year’s £10.9 billion local government settlement provided a real terms increase in both revenue and capital funding at a time when the Scottish revenue budget faced continued real terms cuts.