MSPs launch local government spending review before next budget

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MSPs have launched a review of local government spending ahead of the next Scottish budget.

Holyrood’s Local Government Committee will examine the impact of national policies and the transparency of the local government financial settlement.

The committee will also look at how spending is prioritised and resources managed in councils and how fees and charges for services such as burials, gyms and public toilets are being used.

The review is taking place in advance of the committee’s scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s draft budget 2018/19, which should be revealed towards the end of the year.

Convener Bob Doris said: “We know that local governments have been facing financial challenges for a long time because of growing demands on their services and significant revenue budget cuts, as part of UK-wide reductions in public sector budgets.

“We want to ensure that a fully transparent position of local government finances can be established, which takes into account other funding streams within councils such as pupil equity funds, health and social care integration funds and city deal resources.

“While local authorities have been making savings over previous years, the future shape of the local government settlement is changing and this may pose a level of uncertainty they’ve not previously had to cope with.

“We now want to hear from the public, local authorities and stakeholder groups on what areas local governments are currently prioritising and whether resources are managed effectively.”