Orkney is to receive £67.615 million for 2018-2019 from the Scottish Government to run its services. This is a cash increase of £471,000 compared to last year, but when inflation is taken into account it means a real terms reduction of 2.3%.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council said:
“The fine details of OIC’s share of the settlement still need to be gone through before we have a completely clear picture of our financial position for the year ahead, but what is clear is that we are facing a reduction in Government funding, but perhaps on a smaller scale than anticipated.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Government has not included fair funding for Orkney’s inter-island ferry services at this stage in its draft budget, as this was clearly the will of Parliament when the matter was debated by MSPs on 6 December.
“The Finance Secretary stated during today’s debate that his door remains open for further discussion with parties and it is therefore welcome news that our battle for fairer ferries funding is not over.
“We are only looking for £5.5 million from a budget of more than £30 billion – we’re not looking for favour from Government, we’re simply looking for fairness.”
Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP has urged constituency MSP Liam McArthur, Liberal Democrats, to meet with Derek Mackay, Scotland’s Finance Secretary to make the case for ferry funding.
Maree Todd said:
“There is still time to achieve it in this budget. If Tavish Scott, Liam McArthur and their party colleagues are willing to come to the table with Derek Mackay and ask for it.
“Derek Mackay has made it absolutely clear that his door remains open to that and I hope that Tavish and Liam put aside party politics on this issue and work with other parties to achieve it.”
Councillors will decide in February if they wish to again raise the Council Tax up to 3%. It would bring in an extra £268,000 .
James Stockan said:
“We face an increasing demand for many of our services and with less money to spend, difficult decisions will still be needed in the New Year. Work will continue over the weeks ahead, as we prepare for the meetings in February where we will set the Council’s budget for 2018-2019.”