All 32 local authorities, including South Lanarkshire Council, will receive their needs-based formula share of the 2019-20 total local government settlement, which will be announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work next month. It will then be for South Lanarkshire Council to allocate the total resources that are available to it, which will determine the impact on the people of South Lanarkshire.
In a previous answer, the cabinet secretary stated that he would compose his budget based on evidence. Will the minister and the finance team give appropriate weight to the evidence that was published yesterday by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which is arguing for a fair funding settlement, and ensure that councils such as South Lanarkshire Council are not downgraded and penalised, as has happened in previous Scottish Government budgets?
COSLA’s case for a fair deal has been noted. Indeed, the finance secretary and I met COSLA just last week. That was the latest in a series of meetings to discuss next year’s local government finance settlement.
This year’s finance settlement was a case of treating local authorities fairly, despite the cuts that the United Kingdom Government has made to Scotland’s resource budget. This year, South Lanarkshire Council received £590 million from the Scottish Government. We want to ensure that public services are supported, and our policy on local authority spending is to give local authorities the financial freedom to operate independently.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. On behalf of the back-bench members of all the parties, I would like to congratulate you on getting through all 20 questions.