a) As of 7 September 2021, what is the total amount of funding that Scottish libraries have received from the Scottish Government?
b) If possible, a breakdown of this information by local authority area.
I include a copy of all of the information you requested.
The answer to your question is:
a) The 2022-23 Local Government Settlement of almost £12.7 billion provides local government with a cash increase of over £1 billion or 9.2 per cent which is the equivalent of a real terms increase of 6.3 per cent compared to 2021-22.
The Scottish Government’s policy towards local authorities’ spending is to allow local authorities the financial freedom to operate independently. As such, the vast majority of funding is provided by means of a block grant. It is then the responsibility of individual local authorities to manage their own budgets and to allocate the total financial resources available to them, including library services, on the basis of local needs and priorities, having first fulfilled their statutory obligations and the jointly agreed set of national and local priorities.
Please find attached a link below to the Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimates (POBE) that provides provisional outturn figures for 2021-22 and estimated expenditure figures for 2022-23 as returned to the Scottish Government by individual local authorities: https://www.gov.scot/publications/localgovernment-2021-22-provisional-outturn-2022-23-budget-estimates/
As local authorities are independent corporate bodies, ultimately, it is for locally elected representatives to make local decisions on how best to deliver services to their local communities.
However, since 7 September 2021, as recognition of the Scottish Government’s belief that everyone should have access to library services, in 2022/23 we have supported public libraries through:
- £215,000 for the Scottish Library and Information Council;
- £450,000 for the Public Library Improvement and Information Fund; and
- £1.25 million for the Public Library COVID Relief Fund
In addition, the Digital Health and Care team awarded a grant of £20,000 in March 2022 to the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) to support the Near Me libraries programme.
Furthermore, since 7 September 2021, the Scottish Government have paid £15,796,000 to the National Library of Scotland.
b) Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonable accessible to you. If however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
Information regarding the second part of your request, asking for a breakdown of funding information by local authority area, is already available through previous Parliamentary Questions and Scottish Government new releases:
- Public Library COVID Relief Fund by local authority area (round one and two): Written question and answer: S6W-09933 | Scottish Parliament Website
- Public Library Improvement Fund by local authority area: Scottish Government support for library projects - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The remainder of the Public Library Improvement Fund goes to supporting national projects, including: Forward, Scotland’s National Public Library Strategy; Every Child A Library Member; How Good Is Our Public Library Service; Book Week Scotland; and One Card.
The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for regarding a breakdown of funding provided to the Near Me libraries programme because this decision was undertaken by the Scottish Library and Information Council.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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