I’m sure that more will come out in the weeks ahead as everyone digs a little deeper
into the fine detail, but for now the headline for the third sector is that core
funding has remained at the same rate in cash terms as this year, as has funding
for its regulator, OSCR.
The news that Non-Domestic Rates will be reviewed is definitely worth taking note of,
although we don’t yet know what this will mean for the third sector.
Local government has been cut by 7% in real terms. Whatever you think of local
government, the fear is that this will lead to cuts for our own sector (given
that many of us receive funding from councils) too. It will also increase
pressure on our sector as we try to fill in the inevitable gaps that arise from
council services being reduced.
It will increase pressure on our sector as we try to fill in the
inevitable gaps that arise from council services being reduced
In terms of social security, the Scottish Government will continue to plug the gaps
created by the UK’s ‘bedroom tax’ and its cut to Council Tax Reduction. Access
to free childcare will also be increased.
Interestingly, Mr Swinney spoke a lot about a need to move towards prevention, and
invoked the Christie Commission in his speech. He plans to increase health
spending by 4%, and also announced that £250 million of funding would be moved
from the health budget to local government for funding of social care for health
and social care integration.
The other big announcement was for affordable housing, which will see £90 million
spent on it in the coming year as part of the SNP’s pledge to build more
affordable homes. It’s worth noting though that the budget line for housing has
not seen an increase of £90 million. The plans or projects which will be cut to
pay for this increase is yet to be revealed.
Finally, some in the sector have raised concerns about possible cuts to fuel poverty and energy efficiency, and again there was significantly more announced for road building rather than sustainable transport projects.
To sums things up, it’s a relief to see that there hasn’t been a direct hit on the
third sector, but the repercussions of the cuts to local government will be felt