Funding for Scotland’s 32 Councils for the year ahead has been agreed. Here’s our top three of what the latest package of funding will deliver:
1. A fully-funded tax freeze to ease the burden on household budgets
The SNP Scottish Government is fully funding a council tax freeze for households for a ninth year, saving the average family on a band D bill around £1,500 by the end of this parliamentary term. By comparison, council tax has increased by 12% in England, and soared by 32% under Labour in Wales.
The Council Tax freeze is fully-funded, with Scotland’s local authorities receiving an extra £70 million per annum since 2008-09 to put it in place. In fact, recent independent research from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Service found that, compared to inflation, the Council Tax freeze has been over-funded to the tune of £164.9 million since 2008.
2. A Living Wage for care workers
The funding agreement will also facilitate the Living Wage for every social care worker in Scotland – a wage rise which reflects the invaluable role that care workers play in society.
This builds on our work to make work fairer. In 2011 we became the first government in the UK to pay the Living Wage to its staff; we’re well on our way to meeting our target of signing up 500 Living Wage-accredited businesses, and more than 80 per cent of Scots are now paid the Living Wage or more.
3. Funding for health and social care and teachers
The funding settlement will protect teacher numbers in schools, so that school children continue to receive the same amount of teacher time as they do now. This will play an important part in our drive to approve attainment in schools and give every child the chance to reach their potential.
It will also provide additional funding to support the integration of health and social care, the biggest reform in our health service since 1948. These reforms will allow more people to receive care and support in their home or in the local community, keeping them out of hospital unnecessarily and giving them care in a more homely setting.