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As a responsible Government, we are preparing for all European Union exit possibilities. As part of that work, we are working closely with our partners in local government to help them to identify and prepare for the potential impacts of EU exit.
I am aware that Glasgow City Council and other local authorities have expressed concerns about the possible costs of leaving the EU. As things stand, we have not received a specific request from Glasgow City Council for additional funding. That said, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has written to the Scottish Government, seeking additional funding for councils to help to meet Brexit-related costs. That request is being considered.
Given the scale of cuts to Glasgow’s budget and the impact on local services and local communities, I am surprised that more specific demands have not been made to the Government.
Can the minister clarify and confirm how much of the £54.7 million in EU exit consequentials for 2019-20 will be spent by local government, given the importance of local government in delivering local services? If the minister cannot tell me that now, will he provide a written response as soon as possible, to give local government confidence that councils will get funds to address the budget shortfalls that they are experiencing?
The £54.7 million to which the member referred has been allocated to the Scottish budget across all relevant budget areas, including local government.
One of the few certainties of Brexit is that it will cost Scotland more than the amount of the consequentials that have been delivered by Westminster. Of course, local government is one victim of that. I understand that Glasgow City Council has been undertaking financial modelling to identify the costs of officer time and the need for additional services, which will inform its next steps.
The Scottish Government is alive to the burden that is placed on councils by a Brexit for which Scotland did not vote and has made clear that we will seek moneys from Westminster to meet incurred costs. I hope that we will have the support of Johann Lamont and other Labour members in making the case to the UK Government for a further and appropriate financial settlement with which to address that burden.