All Things Scotland: 2023 levelling up fund- who gets what?

Welcome to All Things Scotland. LGIU Scotland’s weekly collation of everything local government in Scotland, this week we bring you the latest reports and updates.

This week LGIU Scotland has two key updates;

  • A new LGIU Scotland briefing focusing principally on how the budget has supported funding for councils through the Provisional Scottish Local Government Financial Settlement for 2023-24. It also includes a brief comparison between Scottish and English financial settlements.
  • On one of December’s many frosty mornings, LGIU Scotland spoke with Cllr Morrison, President of COSLA, in a conversation that ranged from major league baseball, to financing local government and the importance of hybrid working.

You can find both updates and more on the LGIU Scotland page!


Meanwhile, to understand the ramifications of the highly anticipated, and much-debated, Scottish Government budget, this new LGIU Briefing explores how the budget has influenced funding for Councils through the Provisional Scottish Local Government Financial Settlement for 2023-24. You can read the full briefing here!

UK Government’s 2023 levelling up fund saw 9 Scottish Councils receive funding from the £2.1bn pot.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGIU, said:

“People will debate whether these allocations are right or fair but the real problem here is that this is a crazy way to fund local government.

“With competitive bids and the Government picking winners – there will always be losers.”

You can find the full LGIU response to the Government’s latest levelling up funding allocation here, and the full list of successful Scottish Councils below.

Council Funding amount Project
Stirling Council £19m Regeneration of the Forthside area with 1000 job creation
Shetland Islands Council £27m A new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle.
North Lanarkshire Council £9m Support the demolition and regeneration of two failing shopping centres and a vacant office block, helping to bring education, employment and homes into the heart of North Lanarkshire’s largest town.
Fife Council £19.4m Accelerate the regeneration of Riverside Park in Fife and improve access to the River Leven with new walking routes.
East Lothian Council £11.3m Free up land at a former coal fired power station for future, green regeneration.
East Ayrshire Council £20m Refurbishment of 163-year-old Palace Theatre and Grand Hall, and a new park near the town square in Kilmarnock.
Dundee City Council £14m Redeveloping a dated multi-storey car park into a sustainable transport hub, creating 350 electrical vehicle charging points, car share spaces, and an e-bike hire scheme.
Dumfries and Galloway Council £18m Turn redundant spaces and buildings into exciting new cultural and leisure opportunities.
Aberdeenshire Council £20m Transform Peterhead’s disused Arbuthnot House into a new museum, library and cultural hub, while the popular marine aquarium in Macduff will be modernised and expanded.

In other finance news…

Responses to Scottish Government budget announcements in December continue to cloud Scottish local government. COSLA started this week with a clear message that local government spending decisions are being increasingly directed by Scottish Government, and the way Local Government finances are presented by Scottish Government is potentially confusing for the general public.

COSLA’s statement came on the back of the Accounts Commission 2021/22 financial bulletin, which states that Councils are “now entering the most difficult budget setting context seen for many years”. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of this report.

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been selected by the Scottish and UK governments to become Scotland’s first Green Freeports. Read more about the Green Freeport requirements here!

Newly published economic analysis of Glasgow’s Green Deal shows the potential of job creation in Glasgow. Read the full report here.

An update on the Home for Ukraine will see Scottish Councils will receive a £10,500 tariff (£5,900 from 1 January 2023) and ‘thank you’ payments directly from UK Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, except in cases where the Scottish Government are currently acting as a sponsor.

Housing & Planning

Local authorities play an important role in developing healthy, sustainable neighbourhoods and ensuring that there are enough high-quality homes. We have picked out a few items from our huge library of local government content to start your 2023 informed!

On Tuesday, Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee met to discuss affordable housing, budget scrutiny, allotments, and short-term lets. Find out the contributions made here.

Under Scottish government plans, rent rises are to be capped at 3% and evictions will remain banned.

Regeneration projects in disadvantaged and rural communities will see £27 million to help 23 community-based initiatives to create and support more than 700 jobs and more than 500 construction jobs, along with hundreds of training places.

Funding from Energy Efficient Scotland; Area-based Scheme, alongside Edinburgh Council’s partnership with Changeworks, to transform the energy efficiency of housing in Oxgangs. 

Finally, RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence 2023 opened giving the opportunity to showcase and celebrate the best plans, people and projects.

Updates in Scottish local government

For more on attitudes to local democracy, read this LGIU briefing that summarises the key arguments in a report commissioned from Onward and outlines its potential relevance for local government.

An independent study led by the University of Aberdeen’s Social and Innovative Platform on Cultural Tourism Team has highlighted that the five-star Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre in Galashiels has improved public perception of the historic Borders town. Read how the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre is supporting Galashiels town regeneration here

New research from the University of Edinburgh assesses the impact of Scotland’s lowering of the voting age to 16 in 2014, published by the University of Edinburgh in cooperation with the University of Sheffield and the think tank d|part. You can find the key findings and the full research here.

Finally, Aberdeenshire Council has adopted a new 2023 Local Development Plan. Concluding a five-year process, you can find the full plan here.

Climate and the Environment

COP-26: One Year On – Global Local Executive Panel

Composed of Council Chief Executives from the UK, Ireland and Australia, this panel summary highlights all that has happened in the last twelve months and the ongoing implications for local government from the COP-26 discussions and resolutions.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is being asked to endorse a 10-year plan to exploit renewable energy opportunities to revitalise two former mining towns. You can find the full report here.

Launched by members of Scottish Environment LINK and farmers’ groups, Farm for Scotland’s Future new campaign pushes the Scottish Government to make sure farming works for climate, Scotland and nature.

Health and Social Care

Check out our latest Scottish Winter policy round-up which includes a summary of key newly published documents that impact local government and public services in Scotland.

A new report from the Health Foundation, Leave no one behind – The state of health and health inequalities in Scotland, is a must-read for understanding the scale and urgency for Scotland’s trends in inequalities. Look out for a summary of this report later this month.

In NHS Highland, a new pilot aims to ease workforce pressures by creating a bank of people able to step in when needed to fill gaps in staffing. Read more here

Meanwhile, in response to Drug Deaths Taskforce report, Scottish Government outlined more than 80 actions supported by £68 million.

Finally, reform Scotland’s new blog asks the poignant question of can Scotland deliver NHS reform in 2023?

Local government insights from Ireland

At LGIU we know that places are unique; but so many of the challenges faced by local governments are shared with their colleagues across countries and across continents. To promote the sharing of local government best practice and innovation, this week we have picked two key policy briefings from Ireland that are relevant to Scottish local governments.

Local government response to an international crisis: Ukrainian refugees. Read this briefing from Clare County Council’s Director for Ukrainian Affairs, Jason Murphy, on how the Council is responding the 70,000 Ukrainian refugees who have entered Ireland since March 2022.

Cork County Council: A month in the life. Find out what one of our member local authorities in Ireland gets up to in a month, and how Cork County is leading the way on climate action, housing, community and roads & transportation.

Stay tuned...

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