Further Support for Councils & Culture Sector
An additional £223 million will be provided to local authorities to support pay awards to staff as part of the 2023-24 Scottish Budget.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said an improving financial position enabled him to address some pressing asks. The extra money for local authorities comprises a new £100 million for non-teaching staff and the £123 million announced last week for 2023-24 to support a new pay offer for teachers, which would see salaries rise by 11.5% from April. It comes on top of the additional £570 million already included in the local government settlement and takes the total settlement to nearly £13.5 billion.
Opening the Budget Bill Stage 3 debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney also announced a £6.6 million increase to Creative Scotland’s budget and promised to fund the revenue cost increases incurred by local authorities managing the inter-islands ferry network.
He said additional funding confirmed by the UK Government in Supplementary Estimate figures this morning had enabled him to go further in 2023-24 – but stressed that the financial position remained exceptionally challenging and would require continued prioritisation throughout the coming year.
Help with heating costs is also on its way to around 400,000 people on low incomes through a new Scottish Government benefit, with the first payments processed this week. More than £20m will be paid out over the course of February and March in Winter Heating Payments, which replace the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Cold Weather Payment in Scotland.
Unlike the DWP benefit it replaces, Winter Heating Payment is not paid only to people when there is a sustained period of cold weather in a specific location, but is a reliable annual £50 payment. Those eligible will be informed by letter and will receive the payment from Social Security Scotland automatically, with no need to apply.
I welcome the additional funding for local authorities confirmed in this budget for staff pay, including teacher salaries.
I was also pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to secure and increase Creative Scotland’s funding.
This is the right budget for the year ahead, consolidating the progressive social contract in Scotland to ensure support where it is needed most.
I hope to see the council funding make a real difference to staff and services alike here in Angus and across Scotland.
– Deputy First Minister, John Swinney
I am very aware of the challenges faced as we manage our way through this cost crisis and this Budget is designed to do as much as we possibly can to assist at this most difficult moment.
None of this is easy – this is by far the hardest Scottish Budget process that I have led – with the effects of raging inflation being felt against the impact of more than a decade of austerity and Barnett funding down 5% in real terms since 2021-22.
I hope this additional funding will enable a swift agreement in the Scottish Joint Council pay negotiations so that relevant staff receive a pay increase as early as possible in 2023-24.
The Budget strengthens our social contract with every citizen of Scotland who will continue to enjoy many benefits not available throughout the UK. Delivering support for people most in need, in these difficult times, is the foundation of this Budget.
“The Budget that has been set out to Parliament enables us to invest in our public services, to ensure a strong boost to local authority funding and to ensure that we help those who need it the most.
The £100 million further funding announced is for pay deals negotiated for the majority of local government employees by the Scottish Joint Council. Separately, the Scottish Government has already confirmed it will provide an additional £156 million – £33 million in 2022-23 and £123 million in 2023-24 – to support a new pay offer for teachers which would see teacher salaries rise by 11.5% from April.