FINANCE Secretary Kate Forbes has confirmed emergency funding for Scottish councils will be handed over in full this month – despite the cash still not being formally passed over from the UK Government yet. 

Ms Forbes has insisted the umbrella group for Scottish councils, Cosla, was told that the £155 million of funding was “authorised” to reach local authorities’ bank accounts this week – days before its president told MSPs it had not been given an explanation why the money had not turned up. 

The Finance Secretary has criticised  “unnecessary and displaced concerns about funding for local authorities” - and said that the Scottish Government has not received any concerns over "cash flow" issues by councils.

Ms Forbes was accused of withholding £155 million of emergency funding for local councils after Alison Evison, president of Cosla, told Holyrood’s Local Government Committee that “unfortunately councils have not received this money”. 

READ MORE: Scottish councils still haven't received £155m they are owed amid further £100m 'black hole' warning

After the full £155 million is paid, councils are still facing a £100 million deficit by the end of June – with that figures expected to rise as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. 

Following the committee meeting on Wednesday, Cosla was asked to clarify Ms Evison’s comments, but a spokesperson said there was nothing more to add on the matter. 

But the Finance Secretary has now penned a letter to the committee, confirming local councils will receive their funding in three further installment this month after the first chunk was authorised earlier this week. 

READ MORE: Finance Secretary triggers funding row with Westminster

Ms Forbes said: “The first instalment was received by local authorities on the 3 June ahead of the Local Government and Communities meeting. The remaining instalments will be paid weekly on the 10, 17 and 24 June.  

“We have passed on this funding despite the fact that the £155 million remains still a notified estimate from the UK Government as they were not included in the UK main estimates last month. In other words, the £155 million has not been formally added to our block grant.”  

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Councils told to use reserves as £155m support withheld

She added: “It is unfortunate, therefore, that opposition parties are demanding that we pass on this money before it has formally been passed on to us. It should also be noted that the Scottish Government took decisive action to front load the normal weekly grant payments to help avoid any cash flow problems for local authorities, with an additional £150 million being provided in May, £100 million in June and £50 million in July.  

“We also agreed with Cosla that if local authorities were reporting any cash flow problems we would consider further adjustments to the payment profiles, but to date we have received no such requests.” 

James Dornan, the convener of Holyrood’s Local Government Committee, will write to Ms Evison “for clarification of her comments”. 

A Cosla spokesperson said: “Councils' efforts during this pandemic have been heroic and we look forward to receiving the further instalments of this funding which is vital to councils continued work fighting Covid-19.”