North MSP’s Disappointment over Scottish Executive Reply on Orkney Funding
21 June 2007
Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP Peter Peacock has expressed his disappointment over the Scottish Executive’s response to a parliamentary question over central government funding for Orkney.
Mr Peacock said, "I had submitted a parliamentary question asking the Scottish Executive why Orkney Islands Council receives a lower rate of revenue support than the Western Isles and Shetland; whether the gap had been narrowing in recent years and what further steps the Executive plans to take to eliminate the gap in funding and in what timescales.
"The written response I received from the Cabinet Secretary stated that the main reasons for the differences in the funding share between the island groups can be attributed to the level of funding to support borrowing for capital projects, allocations of the Special Islands Needs Allowance and the effects of special payments to guarantee a minimum year-on-year increase in grant from which Orkney doesn't particularly benefit.
"In responding to my other points the Cabinet Secretary said that funding differential had narrowed slightly in the last two years and that the ‘distribution methodology’ to local authorities is kept under review."
Mr Peacock continued, "This is a pretty flimsy reply and displays no apparent commitment to act further, nor any real urgency.
"I will be passing the reply to Orkney Islands Council and I am urging the minister, through a further parliamentary question, to meet with Orkney Islands Council to discuss and plan further progress on the issue. "
Peter Peacock's Parliamentary Question: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the Cabinet Secretary for Finance will meet with Orkney Islands Council soon to discuss funding for the Council
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