Conservative politicians call on Scottish Government to help with funding shortfall

Conservative politicians have said the Scottish Government needs to give Perth and Kinross Council “a fair deal” after it was revealed the local authority has a massive funding shortfall due to coping with Covid-19.

Figures produced by the BBC show that Perth and Kinross Council has an estimated potential ‘worst case scenario’ funding shortfall of £50 million – the equivalent of £329 for every resident in the local authority area - making it the third worst in the UK.

And data produced by SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, found that Perth and Kinross Council’s funding from the Scottish Government has fallen by almost £3 million from the 2013/14 financial year to the 2020/21 financial year - equivalent to £70 per head of the population.

Commenting, Councillor Angus Forbes, Convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Whilst we all know that Perth and Kinross Council had seen successive cuts to their budget by the Scottish Government, to see it laid out so clearly by head of population really hammers this message home.

“Even before Covid-19 we were faced with making incredibly difficult decisions in our budget, services that our communities relied upon were being cut back. Following Covid-19 the situation will be even worse and the Scottish Government really need to take a look at their spending priorities and use their £46 billion budget more wisely and help local authorities deliver the services that local people need every day."

And Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, added: “The potential funding shortfall for Perth and Kinross Council of £50 million caused by trying to cope with Covid-19 is extremely worrying, and underlines how important it is for the Scottish Government to give the local authority a fair deal.

“The Scottish Government needs to get its finances in order and make sure local authorities have sufficient funding to cope with this pandemic.”

He continued: “The data produced by SPICe highlights how funding from the Scottish Government to Perth and Kinross Council has fallen by almost £3 million from the 2013/14 financial year to 2020/21, which amounts to £70 per head of the population.

“These are shocking figures and it is time the Scottish Government took notice of the financial problems facing local authorities, as councils face having to make cuts to some services due to having a funding shortfall.”