Mark McDonald MSP

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Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

I questioned the first panel about the consequential impact on revenue budgets of capital expenditure and the possibility of looking at innovative means of financing. The Scottish Government is driving through the non-profit-distributing model, but capital projects—I am thinking particularly of social housing—could be delivered by the utilisation of pension fund investment. Have you had a conversation with local authority pension funds and other pension funds about whether they could look at reallocating some of their investment to drive some capital projects, which would see a return to the pension funds?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

Another point that South Lanarkshire raised in the earlier session was that it had identified that it paid out £20 million per annum to service PFI debt on education buildings. What cumulative figure does the Scottish Government hold on the PFI payments that local authorities have to make annually? What bearing do those payments have on some of the cost pressures that are faced in the current financial climate?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

The formula is driven by COSLA, but should the way that funding is distributed have more of a focus on delivery of outcomes, given that we are trying to drive that narrative at the national level?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

The application of the funding formula is obviously a responsibility of COSLA, although that is a point often lost on certain finance conveners, who tend to lay their woes squarely at the door of the Scottish Government when it comes to their own individual settlements.

This point was made earlier in the meeting by Lindsay Freeland of South Lanarkshire Council. He felt that, essentially, the funding formula disadvantages progress with respect to certain indicators because of the knock-on effect on the funding that is received. Do you share that concern as regards how the funding formula applies, in that it essentially rewards councils that do not make progress on some of the key indicators, including that of deprivation?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

Is there an inherent flaw in the funding formula? Does it reward lack of investment or lack of progress?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

The convener asked about the funding formula. A vote had to be taken recently at COSLA on alterations to the funding formula when a number of authorities realised that they would be beneficiaries. The difficulty has always been that any real change has been unlikely, because in essence it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas—some authorities would lose out.

When Hugh Dunn was asked whether the funding formula was fit for purpose, he was very equivocal when he said that it was “well understood”—that is not necessarily the same thing. Is the way in which COSLA allocates funding appropriate and sustainable, particularly in times when funding is tight and local authorities will point fingers at who will be winners and losers?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

If the BBC is to be believed there might be an announcement later today on local taxation.

Capital expenditure has had an impact on revenue expenditure in connection with the repayment of capital borrowing. One way of dealing with that, which has been suggested in the past, is for local government pension funds to adopt a more creative approach, in particular through the delivery of social housing, which has a guaranteed lifetime return and can therefore be viewed by pension funds as a sound investment. Some local authority pension funds have taken that approach; others have been cautious, to use a polite term, or risk averse, in their approach. What view do the local authorities take around that potential approach, which would allow for capital funding without the revenue impact that would follow?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

The issue around the quantum of funding—the amount of money that is being made available—has been raised several times. Every time that we do a budget round, irrespective of which committee I am sitting on—I have sat on a couple of different committees doing budget rounds—I find that the organisations affected by the budget come and talk about there not being enough funding available.

There is a fixed budget in Scotland and very little wriggle room. In order for there to be investment in one area, there must be disinvestment in another area. I am sure that local authorities are more than familiar with that scenario. If local government requires more funding, is there a view on where that funding should be taken from? Does COSLA have a position on that? It is fine to say that more money is required, but without identifying where that money comes from, we do not advance any further.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)

Yes.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mark McDonald

I am grateful to Mr Rennie. I welcome the cross-party support for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given the vote at the 2016 elections. However, an election is looming next year. Does Willie Rennie agree that it will be a missed opportunity if the UK Government does not take similar action to lower the voting age for UK elections as well, given that young people were able to participate in the most historic vote in this country?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
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YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Mark McDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11710: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11698: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11697: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11487: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11422: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11298: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11184: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11183: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11182: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11181: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mark McDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23396: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23398: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23399: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02423: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03653: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22813: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22810: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22812: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22811: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03578: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Question >>

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