No funding bias

7th January 2011 at 00:00

The claims by Glasgow City Council of political bias in the local government finance settlement, which you reported on December 17, are no more than ludicrous whingeing.

If Glasgow's leader, Gordon Matheson, does not understand that the level of grant for each council is set by a pre- agreed formula between the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Government, then he is not fit to hold his current position. The formula is based on an objective process with a set methodology, which specifically excludes political input.

Councillor Matheson knows full well that the finance settlement for each local authority reflects its spending needs. In West Lothian's case, it accurately reflects factors such as our increase in both older people and young children, increased secondary school rolls and an increase in the money we pass directly to Lothian and Borders fire and rescue service.

Under this agreement, West Lothian Council will receive an estimated pound;1,850 per head of population, which is still under the national average of just over pound;2,000.

By comparison, Glasgow City Council will receive in excess of pound;2,360 per head of population, which is the highest for any mainland local authority in Scotland.

After a generation of Labour control, I understand that Glasgow has significant issues to tackle in its area, including deprivation. West Lothian would benefit enormously if we received the same funding per head of population as Glasgow - to the extent of an extra pound;86 million of revenue in the coming year.

Peter Johnston, leader, West Lothian Council, Livingston.

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