Scrutiny of Draft Budget 2018-19

 

About the Inquiry

As part of its scrutiny of the Scottish Government's 2018-19 draft budget, the Committee will look at how local authorities prioritise spending and access the impact of increased charges. The Committee will also explore the ways local government finances evolve over time.

Some of the key questions the Committee will be asking include:

  • How is spending prioritised and are resources managed effectively in local government?
  • How are national policies impacting on local government spending?
  • How transparent is the local government financial settlement?
  • How are fees and charges being used, and how are decisions made on which services are affected?

Timetable

  • 14 September 2017: launch of call for written evidence
  • 23 October 2017: closure of call for written evidence
  • 22 November 2017: oral evidence session (COSLA, Improvement Service)
  • 29 November 2017: oral evidence session (Accounts Commission)
  • 6 December 2017: oral evidence session (2 stakeholder panels)
  • 20 December 2017: oral evidence session (Scottish Government)

Evidence

Call for Written Evidence

The Committee has today, Thursday 14 September 2017, launched a call for written evidence from all interested parties and individuals as part of its scrutiny of the Scottish Government's draft budget 2018-19. It is anticipated that the budget will be published later this year therefore the Committee has agreed to undertake pre-budget scrutiny looking back at what has actually been spent in 2016-17 and (to the extent possible) 2017-18.

Organisations and individuals are therefore invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views on local government and housing supply budgets. You may not wish to respond to all the questions posed, but it would be helpful if you could reference the relevant question in your written respose.

The written evidence will then be used to inform oral evidence taken from stakeholders and then from the Scottish Government.

Read the call for written evidence.

Written Submissions

The following written submissions were received:

Read the written submissions received.

Summary of Written Submissions

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has produced a summary of the written submissions received. This can be found at the following link:

A summary of the written submissions received on the housing supply budget can be found at the following link:

SPICe Briefings

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has produced briefings on the Scottish Government's More Homes Budget, on the written submissions received as part of the Committee's consideration of Strategic Housing Investment Plans and on the draft housing budget 2018-19. These can be found at the following links:

Oral Evidence

Wednesday 22 November 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Cllr Gail Macgregor, Spokesperson for Resources, and Vicki Bibby, Chief Officer, Local Government Finance, COSLA;
  • Paul Dowie, Director, Shared Services, Improvement Service.

Link to Papers for meeting on 22 November 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 22 November 2017

COSLA have provided the following supplementary written submissions as a follow-up to the evidence session on 22 November 2017:

Wednesday 29 November 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Ronnie Hinds, Deputy Chair, and Fraser McKinlay, Controller of Audit, Accounts Commission;
  • Tim Bridle, Manager, Local Government (Technical), Audit Scotland.

Link to Papers for meeting on 29 November 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 29 November 2017

Following the meeting on 29 November 2017, the Clerk to the Committee wrote to the Accounts Commission requesting follow-up information on issues discussed at the meeting:

The Accounts Commission replied to the Clerk's letter on 12 December 2017:

The Accounts Commission also wrote to the Convener on 4 December 2017 in relation to how additional council tax collected through the 2017 council tax reforms flows through to councils:

Wednesday 6 December 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Tony Cain, Policy Manager, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers;
  • David Stewart, Policy Lead, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations;
  • Douglas Black, Secretary, Local Government Service Group, and Mark Ferguson, Chair, Local Government Committee, UNISON Scotland;

and then from:

  • Robert Emmott, Director of Finance and Corporate Resources, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar;
  • Alastair MacArthur, Head of Finance, Renfrewshire Council.

Link to Papers for meeting on 6 December 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 6 December 2017

Wednesday 20 December 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, Bill Stitt, Team Leader - Revenue and Capital, Marianne Barker, Non-Domestic Rates  Group Secretary, Brad Gilbert, Head of Financial Innovation Unit, and  Angus Macleod, Head of Tackling Fuel Poverty Unit, Scottish Government.

Link to Papers for meeting on 20 December 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 20 December 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution wrote to the Committee wrote to the Committee on 10 January 2018 with follow-up information requested by the Committee during the meeting on 20 December 2017:

Correspondence

The Convener wrote to the Minister for Local Government and Housing on 11 September 2017 in relation to transparency of the local government draft budget:

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution replied to the Convener's letter on 5 October 2017:

 
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