Date lodged: 26 April 2018
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports of disruption caused by the A939 regularly closing due to bridge repairs, what specific support is available to local authorities to construct new bridges that are required due to listed Highland bridges on key rural routes not being fit for purpose.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 8 May 2018
Transport Scotland is a member of the SCOTS Bridges Group which shares issues from the wider bridge community with local authorities. Transport Scotland take concerns raised about various issues to the UK Bridges Board, which is a sub group of the UK Roads Liaison Group, and also the Bridge Owner’s Forum.
The vast majority of funding from the Scottish Government is provided via a block grant and Transport Scotland do not stipulate how local authorities should utilise their individual allocations. It is therefore the responsibility of each local authority to manage their own budget and to allocate the financial resources available to them on the basis of local needs and priorities, having first fulfilled their statutory obligations and the jointly agreed set of national and local priorities. The Scottish Government allocated over £10.4 billion to local government for 2017-18. In 2018-19, councils will receive funding through the local government finance settlement of £10.7 billion. This will provide a further real terms boost in both revenue and capital funding.
Highland Council will receive £487.5 million Scottish Government funding in 2018-19. Taken together with the decision to increase council tax by 3%, Highland Council will have an additional £17.1 million to support services compared to 2017-18.
In addition, the Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, has taken the decision to allocate an additional £10 million to cover all 32 councils, with individual council allocations to be determined by COSLA. This additional £10 million is being made directly available to local authorities immediately.