On Wednesday 7th December, responding to concerns raised about council finances by a Tory MSP, Ruth intervened in the Chamber to point out that reduction in council funding has in fact come from the UK Tory Government, and not from the Scottish Government.
Addressing the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security, and Equalities, Angela Constance, at Portfolio Question Time, Ruth asked:
‘Does the cabinet secretary agree that the reduction in real-terms funding of councils since 2010-11, which is proportionally the same as the cut to the Scottish Government’s total budget over the same period, is due to the continuation of the United Kingdom Tory Government’s failed austerity agenda?’
The Cabinet Secretary stated that she ‘of course’ agreed, elaborating that ‘it is clear that local government has been treated fairly, despite the cuts to the Scottish budget from the United Kingdom. Local government finance settlements were maintained in Scotland on a like-for-like basis over the period 2012-16, with extra money for new responsibilities. Taking into account the additional £250 million to support the integration of health and social care, the overall reduction in 2016-17 funding equates to less than 1 per cent of local government’s total estimated expenditure.’