- There appears to be no provision to meet the costs of PPP payments as more schools are completed.
- There appears to be no provision for new school building. The SNP pledged to match Labour’s plans for school buildings (a further 250 schools) ‘brick for brick’ – it seems Councils will now be expected to deliver this without extra resources to do so.
- Those Councils which agreed to increase local taxes to pay for payments for new schools will now have to find that money from elsewhere.
- The budget contains no money for class size reductions.
- 50% increase in nursery provision is not being fully funded
- There is no guaranteed extra money for free personal care, at this stage
- It is not clear how other key funds for Councils will be distributed, eg, for flood prevention/coast protection schemes. Councils may have to fund above average costs themselves?
The SNP announced on Wednesday that they had secured a deal with local councils to freeze council tax. In return for doing this, councils and the Scottish government would reach agreement on which policies need to be implemented.
However today (15 November) at First Minister’s Questions, Alex Salmond went further and made commitments which would have a significant impact on councils:
Wendy Alexander - "Yesterday Mr Swinney held up a piece of paper from CoSLA. Today I’d like to do the same.
This is also a paper from CoSLA– it makes clear that in the budget there is not a penny more to reduce class sizes. Not a penny more for new schools. No extra money for PE and sports facilities.
I know the FM is not very good at yes or no answers but parents across Scotland need to know the answers.
Does every local authority in Scotland have to make year on year progress to achieve your pledge to reduce class sizes even if pupil numbers are rising? Yes or no?"
Alex Salmond – Yes, it’s item number 4 in the agreement, local government will be expected to show year on year progress on class reduction.
Yet that's not what it says nor is it what Fiona Hyslop said
This is the first, but probably not the last example, of the SNP changing this deal to suit them, at the expense of local services and a big financial cost to councils.
We are in trouble and somewhat ironically its the council tax payer (who think that they are getting a freeze) that will pay the price in the long run.