PLANS to have Aberdeen Council directly funded by Westminster would cost the city  millions, according to House of Commons Library research.

The statistics, highlighted by the SNP, show that councils funded by Westminster have seen a huge fall in funding over recent years, while those funded by Holyrood have seen a slight rise in real terms. 

Aberdeen Council voted in December 2020 to bypass Holyrood and ask for funding directly from Alister Jack in the Scotland Office.

Douglas Lumsden, the Tory co-leader of the council, said he aimed to get the city its “fair share”.

However, statistics from Westminster show a 15.6% fall in council funding in England between 2016 and March 2020, compared to a small increase in cash terms in Scotland, according to reports in the Press and Journal.

Furthermore, Aberdeen council spent £1804 per head on “General Fund Net Revenue Expenditure” in the year 2018-2019, according to Government figures. In Scotland, only Edinburgh council spent less, on £1639 per head. The Scottish average was £1981.

The average local authority spend in England over the same period, according to Westminster figures, was £1725 per head.

The SNP said the House of Commons figures prove that Aberdeen Council’s plans to ask for funding to be passed directly to them, circumventing Holyrood, are “dangerous” as well as “delusional”.

Aberdeen Central MSP, Kevin Stewart, said: “We know that Douglas Lumsden’s proposal was completely delusional, but what these figures show is they are also dangerous and would cripple Aberdeen.

READ MORE: Aberdeen Council votes to bypass Holyrood and ask UK Government for funds

“The last thing our city needs is to be subjected to the brutal cuts English local authorities have witnessed in recent years – to see Aberdeen’s budget slashed like we’ve seen down south would be completely devastating.”

He added that the figures should “put the matter to bed” and Lumsden should withdraw his “foolish proposal”.

However, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) warns that “because the functions of local authorities differ widely between each country” comparing council funding in England and Scotland “is more complex than it may at first seem”.

Lumsden told the Press and Journal: “It appears to me that with an election looming in May, Kevin Stewart MSP is running scared that citizens in Aberdeen are finally seeing through his inability as local government minister to properly finance the city that he represents.

“The figures he has produced are nonsensical and meaningless to each and every citizen in Aberdeen given devolution is the settled will of the people.”

Initially, the council motion put forward that suggested Aberdeen Council ask Westminster for money directly was blasted for seemingly aiming to undo devolution. Lumsden added in the clause about it being the “settled will of the people”, after which the motion passed by 22 votes to 19.

Lumsden added: “As Aberdeen remains one of the lowest funded councils in Scotland the actions of the local government minister Kevin Stewart MSP continue to put the citizens of Glasgow and the Central belt before his own citizens in Aberdeen.”