New cash for local authorities announced

Gillian Martin says the power to do something about rates now lies squarely with local councils.
Gillian Martin says the power to do something about rates now lies squarely with local councils.

New cash for local authorities has been announced today during the first stage of the Scottish Budget process at Holyrood.

SNP politicians from across the North East are calling for councils to use the money to deliver business rates relief that local firms have asked for. The power to do so now lies with local authorities under the Community Empowerment Act.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Evans have called on politicians from all political parties to unite in delivering a reduction in rates – a call backed by local business-owners and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce – to deliver an economic boost and create jobs in the North East of Scotland.

Today’s budget announced an additional £17.5 million for North East councils – on top of existing local government funding, record investment for the NHS and millions of extra cash which will go directly to driving up standards in our schools.

Ms Martin said: “The SNP has put forward a serious budget for growing our economy and committed substantial funding for public services to help communities in the North East.

“We’re completing the AWPR, investing £900 million in our health services, building a new Inverurie health centre and giving headteachers cash to drive up standards in our schools.

“On top of that, North East councils are getting a further £17.5 million to spend as they see fit.

“Speaking to local businesses over recent weeks, I’ve heard their concerns about rates revaluations.

“The power to do something about that now lies squarely with local councils. It’s time for all of us to set politics aside and use the extra cash coming to the region to deliver rates relief for businesses, attract investment to the area, grow our economy and create jobs.”