Headlines: May 17th, 2000

Pressure is mounting on the Government to reward local government for modernising with a modernised system of financing.So far the Labour administration has done little to change the carrot and stick approach to local government finance.

In Scotland today (Wednesday), the President of the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) will call for more transparency and honesty in the financing of local government.

Councillor Norman Murray will tell conference delegates at the Scottish Local Government Information Unit’s conference Local Government Finance – Options for Reform, that councils do not need a centralised ‘one-fits-all’ formula for spending, but the flexibility to meet local demands.

He says that the only way that all 32 of Scotland’s councils can deliver the quality and value for money services demanded is through a financial review.

Councillor Murray is proposing shifting from a system of controlling inputs to one of joint priorities, managed by the monitoring of outcomes.

COSLA also proposes a three-year planning system for local government finance, to introduce the kind of stability envisaged in the comprehensive spending review.

The Scottish Local Government Information Unit conference Local Government Finance – Options for Change takes place at Edinburgh City Chambers.