The impact of budget reductions on council services is to be scrutinised by the Local Government and Communities Committee as it starts its annual budget examination.
Local government funding in Scotland has fallen by around 10% in real terms since its previous peak in 2009-10. MSPs want to hear how local authorities are responding to those challenges as well as whether Scottish Government funding outwith the Local Government revenue settlement - but which helps fund local services - should be considered as Local Government budget.
The Committee is also looking at the Scottish Government’s target to build 50,000 affordable new homes over the next five years. The Government has committed to 35,000 of those being available for social rent.
The Committee will look at the funding programmes behind the home building programme, which includes the Affordable Housing Supply Programme and Help to Buy, asking whether the programmes deliver value for money.
Bob Doris MSP, Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee, said:
“With the Scottish Government’s draft budget not due to be published until later this year, our Committee is taking a look back at what has been spent on local government and housing over the last two years.
“Local government funding has fallen for five years. We want to establish how local authorities have managed these reductions and how they have impacted on services and service users. We will also be looking at whether other money being spent on local authority responsibilities, such as the health and social care integration funds, should be considered as part of local government budget.
“We’re also looking for views on whether the centrally managed funding programmes are delivering on the Scottish Government’s targets for building new homes.”
It is anticipated that the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2017-18 will not be published until later this year. The Committee has therefore agreed to undertake pre-budget scrutiny looking back at what has actually been spent in 2015-16 and (to the extent possible) in the current budget year, 2016-17.
The Committee’s call for evidence can be found here.