COSLA today (Tuesday) said that a cut to local government funding from central government next week is both a wrong and dangerous road to go down.
Speaking in advance of the Scottish Government laying out its spending plans for next year, COSLA’s Transport Spokesperson Councillor Stephen Hagan said: “The Scottish Government needs to realise that if as a result of their political choices the local government settlement is cut again next week – this will have severe consequences for roads, transport and travel across Scotland.
“Local authorities have responded to budgetary pressures and worked hard to maintain local road quality over the last few years despite having to reduce road budgets by the order of 14% from 2011/12 to 2014/15.
“Councils have worked hard to adapt to the years of austerity and are delivering efficient services despite decreasing funding. However, a further reduction on top of a £350 million cash cut last year will make it virtually impossible to maintain road quality into the future.
“Scottish Government need to see the bigger picture. Budget cuts not only affect investment in road improvement but also have a real impact on communities trying to go about their daily business which in turn can harm the local economy.  
“Less funding means councils are less able to respond to typical – let alone unusual – winter conditions in future. Scottish Government cannot control the weather but they can control how much money they give local government who have to keep vital services rolling no matter what the conditions are like. A cut to the local government budget will inevitably increase the risk councils have to bear as budgets are stretched ever further.
Speaking specifically about Dumfries and Galloway, Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said; “Our Council’s number one priority is building the local economy. Crucial to achieving that is investment in our region’s transport. In Dumfries and Galloway, we have the third longest road network in Scotland and a recent condition survey showed that 46.5% of our local road network needs maintenance treatment.

“With more cuts to local funding, the Government is eroding our ability to do anything to improve this and will mean the condition of our roads will deteriorate further. The Scottish Government know this, yet are still prepared to make these huge funding cuts which will have a devastating effect on our local communities and businesses. Any further cut in funding from the Scottish Government will also put subsidies for local bus services at risk.  

“Local people depend on these services daily to travel to work, for leisure, to see their families or just to get to the shops. Local bus services have already been reduced because of a cut in funding so a further reduction will hit communities again. Stephen Hagan is right, the Scottish Government has to recognise the devastating impact that more cuts will have on our road network and take action.”

Article published: 
Tue, 06/12/2016 - 08:15