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MINISTER INDICATES CHANGE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE SETTLEMENT

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Minister for finance Jack McConnell has indicated that the three year spending plans he will announce next week wil...
Minister for finance Jack McConnell has indicated that the three year spending plans he will announce next week will include some provision for increases in pay and prices not covered in recent local government settlements.

Speaking after a meeting with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in Edinburgh yesterday, the minister said:

'Obviously I cannot reveal details of the spending plans which will be formally announced in parliament next Wednesday.

'However, I promised to involve Scottish local authorities in discussions leading up to the plans and this morning's meeting was the last with Cosla before the spending statement.

'In recent years local government finance settlements have assumed that efficiencies will pay in full for inflationary pressure on pay and other costs. This has been an important discipline but it has also been a tough challenge.

'While I expect Scotland's local authorities to continue the drive for improved performance, greater efficiency and best value in the delivery of services, the spending plans I announce next week will include for the next three years, an element for cost increases in pay and other prices reflecting the new partnership in local government finance which we are putting in place.

'Negotiations remain a matter for the council management and the trade unions.'

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