Welcome to All Things Scotland
Undoubtedly, the biggest focus in Scottish local government this week is the much anticipated 2023-24 Scottish Government budget. Announced in the Scottish Parliament this Thursday (15 December), find out the key reflections from the LGIU Scotland team here.
To find out the background for what represents the most challenge Scottish budget since devolution, the LGIU Scotland has lined up four key papers to help understand the context for this years budget.
- Scotland’s public finances – unprecedented challenges for 2023-24. This LGIU policy briefing uses Audit Scotland’s recent report, Scotland’s Public Finances – challenges and risks, to explore the difficult choices acting Finance Minister, John Swinney, faces in preparing the 2023-24 Scottish Budget.
- COSLA started this week off with an SOS (Save Our Services) call. Outlining that if this weeks budget did not address the severe financial situation facing Scottish local authorities, COSLA warned that the very financial sustainability of councils will be at stake.
- This week, Scottish Parliament Information Centre published a short blog on what to look out for in the upcoming budget.
- The University of Strathclyde-based Fraser of Allander Institute says that in the face of high inflation, Scottish finances walk a precarious tight rope, but choices are there to be made.
The Week in Scottish Local Government
A £1.4 million Cost Crisis Emergency Fund launched by the Scottish Government will see Argyll and Bute, Highland’s, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, North Ayrshire, the Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands benefit islanders most affected by the cost of living crisis.
In other islands developments, a community buy out for a hotel in North Arran has secured funding. The North Arran Community Benefit Society has been given £484,000 towards buying Arran’s closed-down Lochranza Hotel.
Find out more about local governance on the Scottish islands by checking out this LGIU blog from Adele who was selected to undertake a PhD programme through the institute for Northern Studies UHI jointly funded by LGiU and the three Island local authorities Shetland, Orkney and Nan Eilean Siar.
A consultation has opened on electoral reform, asking about changing the age of candidacy from the current minimum of 18 to allow young people to stand for election.
This short read from Nesta summarises the findings from research and conveys the challenges coveys the challenges in tackling Scotland’s health inequalities. With 50 senior public sector stakeholders consulted, you can find the summary here.
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University found a widening gap between the cost of raising a child in Scotland and actual family incomes. You can find the report here.
For more on health inequalities, read this LGIU post on the impact of Covid-19 on health inequalities in Glasgow.
This blog from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre examines gambling harms in Scotland and presents potential public health approaches to reduce gambling harms, as well as some emerging issues. With implications for Scottish local authorities, read the full blog here.
Audit Scotland released a new publication detailing how climate change considerations need to be central to public bodies’ decision-making and financial planning. You can find the full report here.
For more on climate planning, check out this LGIU briefing on the role of housing and planning services delivered by local councils in meeting the climate challenge.
A recent report Centre for Cities called for Glasgow to become a leading city of the ‘New Economy’. However, to do so, the report call for a Greater Glasgow Authority and ‘Transport for Glasgow’ authority for effective planning & transport at the city-region scale. Read the full report here.
A recent report from Transport Scotland lent Scottish Government support for Edinburgh City Council’s plans to expand the tram network from Granton to Dalkeith. You can find the Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 report here.
Make sure you check out this LGIU blog post from Highland Council on transport innovation!
Key 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 authorities.
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 Ukranian refugees who have entered Ireland since March 2022.
Mixed-methods area profiling and reflections urban regeneration. This briefing paper recounts experiences of compiling a socio-economic profile of neighbourhoods that were included in an area-based urban-regeneration initiative in Tralee, County Kerry
Next week we have a final look at what Christmas looks like across the globe as we look at Christmas lights. In addition, there will be new resources on supporting mental health and well being, a vitally important topic at any time of the year.
Sending our best wishes to all our members in Scotland, particularly thinking of Shetland this week, but all you, our valued members, as you work everyday to support residents and communities through adverse weather conditions and countless other emergencies this week and every week.
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