We all know that public spending restraints are taking place across the UK.
Here in Scotland, councils have been forced to make difficult and unpopular cutbacks as a result of reduced budgets.
It’s all down to Westminster, right?
Scottish councils are bearing the brunt of austerity because the SNP has hit them with steeper cuts than the Conservatives.
Figures from the independent experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that between 2013-14 and 2019-20, the Scottish Government’s revenue budget was cut by 2% by the UK Government.
But over the same period, the SNP Government has hit councils with a staggering 7% reduction in funding in real terms.
These cuts lie directly at Nicola Sturgeon’s door.
And not only are local residents losing valuable services, householders are also facing steep rises in council tax to offset some of the impact.
That’s the same council tax which the SNP once promised to abolish.
At the 2007 Holyrood elections the SNP pledged: “We will scrap the unfair council tax and introduce a Local Income Tax set at 3p.”
After 13 years in power at Holyrood, the council tax is still in place and our local authorities are facing deep cuts from the SNP Scottish Government.
This is happening despite the fact that Scotland generates 8% of the UK's taxes, and benefits from 9.3% of the UK's public spending.
By pooling and sharing resources, the fact that our deficit is running at 7% of GDP – the highest in Europe – doesn’t have a direct impact on public spending because we are part of the UK. We all benefit from the massive economic success of London and the south-east.
That wouldn’t be the case in a separate Scotland, which would have to find ways to try to balance the books.
The SNP is already running council services into the ground. By remaining in the UK, we can prevent even deeper cuts.