Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has today accused the Scottish Government of short-changing North East Scotland. He has published new figures that show Aberdeen City is set to be £23million short of the funding level promised by the SNP.
New analysis from the impartial Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has shown that next year Aberdeen City will only be funded at 79% of the Scottish average, breaking an SNP promise to make sure it gets 85%.
Speaking at the Scottish Liberal Democrat regional conference in Laurencekirk today, Mr Rennie will also say that the hike in business rates will harm North East businesses. He will condemn SNP ministers for recklessly abandoning a transition scheme to protect local businesses from massive jumps in their rates.
Commenting Mr Rennie said:
“The SNP cannot escape the fact that their actions have directly left areas like Aberdeen completely short changed. They have let the whole North East down. Business rates are up and local funding is down. It makes grim reading for local services and businesses.
“Their hike in business rates will devastate local businesses who are already struggling in the chaos of Brexit and the oil downturn. The SNP’s reckless refusal to introduce a transitional rate relief scheme will hit businesses further.
“To make matters worse, an official Scottish Government consultation showed 62% support for a transition scheme on business rates but this was point-blank rejected and ignored by ministers within days of publication. This speaks of a Government that has completely lost touch with the needs of local businesses and communities. A transitional scheme would provide businesses the time they need to challenge any proposed rise in bills.
“Because of the SNP, Aberdeen is now falling well behind the Scottish average for council funding. Despite promises from the SNP to make sure that Aberdeen’s funding would never fall below 85% of the country average, a gap of £23million needs to be filled just to reach that pledge. The Scottish Government cannot hide away from this no matter how they dress it up.
“The SNP cannot claim to be a party for the whole of Scotland when they neglect the needs of regions like the North East. We need to see areas like Aberdeen funded and supported properly and not the pitiable deal they currently have.”