COSLA today (Thursday) said that a cut to local government funding from central government next week will have severe consequences for the health of the nation.

Speaking in advance of the Scottish Government laying out its spending plans for next year, COSLA’s Health and Wellbeing Spokesperson Councillor Peter Johnston said: “We all know that protecting the NHS does not in itself protect our health. In reality, the NHS is our service when we are sick, while what local government does every day improves and protects our health and wellbeing.

“We know that poverty is the biggest factor in poor health. Protecting and investing in all local government services is the best way to address the devastating impact of inequality. If we cut these services people’s outcomes and their health will deteriorate with the less well-off being the worst affected.

“All the services that local government provides to support people to have a suitable home, to receive childcare, to improve educational attainment, to access sport and leisure facilities, to support those with bereavement, to grow community resilience, to utilise libraries, and of course through social care services are all critical to improving and protecting Scotland’s mental wellbeing and our physical health.

“All of these services positively impact on the health of our nation. But councils are under pressure to make budgets balance and it is a huge concern that many may  have to stop or greatly reduce these services and are facing unwelcome choices between fewer libraries or fewer home helps. The challenges we are facing make it essential that we develop new integrated health and social care services to focus on early intervention and prevention. You simply cannot have a healthier Scotland if you do not invest in a fairer Scotland.

“We are proud that local government services are making such a significant contribution to our health and wellbeing and believe local services are at the very heart of building a fairer Scotland and we want to ensure this continues to be the case.”

Article published: 
Thu, 08/12/2016 - 08:00