Who's keeping an eye on the books?

10th March 2000 at 00:00
THE Government's rhetoric and life in local authorities up and down Scotland do not coincide. As councillors meet to fix their budgets for 2000-2001, many are faced with the kind of cuts they thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history, following the cash injection by the Chancellor last year. Education as the largest charge on budgets is a target yet again, and the Educational Institute of Scotland is right (page three) to ask what is going on and how the Executive intends to respond.

One problem faced by councils such as Aberdeenshire is the mismatch between the budget for general expenditure and that tied up in projects such as the Excellence Fund. Ring-fencing of local overnment finance is relatively new. Councils used to be able to spend as they chose and face the verdict of ratepayers at the ballot box. Now central government seeks to impose its own agenda and to that end limits the freedom of councils.

No one questions the value of Excellence Fund projects for which councils have successfully bid. But what is the point of innovation if core parts of the education service are being undermined? Some councils are set to suffer badly. Others are much less stretched. The general lack of comprehension among MSPs about funding inhibits debate about the best way to fund local government and thus to find the best relationship with the centre.


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now