North East MSP Mike Rumbles has today accused the Scottish Government of “fiddling the stats” after new research by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and SPICe revealed cuts to Aberdeen City Council funding will be £3.6 million more than previously thought.
The new research has uncovered for the first time that the method used by the SNP to calculate their promise to fund every council with at least 85% of the Scottish average, ignores the four councils with the highest funding, leaving Aberdeen City out of pocket.
The independent SPICe calculation shows that Aberdeen City Council gets just 73% of the average grant per head from the Scottish Government. These revelations comes the day before the Parliament is due to debate the local government finance order on 9th March.
To meet its manifesto promise the Scottish Government has for the first time included assumed council tax income. And, in a further blow to Aberdeen City, the Scottish Government has ignored the four highest-funded councils in Scotland (Orkney, Shetland, Eilean Siar and Argyll & Bute). This lowers the remaining Scottish average and cuts the amount given to top-up Aberdeen City.
Mr Rumbles said:
“These are shocking revelations about how the Scottish Government has reached its estimate of what “85% funding” means. They’re fiddling the stats to deprive the North East of more than £3.6 million to which it would otherwise be entitled.
“This is terrible behaviour from a Government who have quite literally deleted the stats they don’t like.
“I will be using tomorrow’s debate to hold Government ministers to account over this despicable fiddle factor”.
The average funding across the whole of Scotland is £2125 per head (meaning that 85% of this is £1806 per head).
The fiddle-factor funding that the Scottish Government uses is £2106 per head (making 85% equal to £1790 per head).
That means that Aberdeen City is fiddled out of £16 per head which totals £3.6million when taken across the most recent population estimate of 230,350.