COSLA is to launch a social media campaign entitled #BudgetReality which will lay out in detail the real budget Councils have been given for next year.
The campaign will also highlight the impact of this reduction in specific service areas.
COSLA President Councillor David O’Neill made the announcement today (Friday) in advance of the first meeting of Council Leaders in 2017.
Councillor O’Neill said:
“COSLA has a duty to make sure that the reality of the budget reaches the people who rely on our services and that is why we chose to undertake a social media campaign.
"The campaign will have two main objectives. Firstly it will highlight the cut in the quantum of resources coming to councils and secondly it will point out to the public the damage such a severe level of cut to our funding by Scottish Government will do to the public services people rely on.
“This information campaign will cover vital council services such as Health and Social Care, Education and flag up the realities other services such as parks, libraries and leisure facilities are facing. The public have a right to know the full impact on both communities and services that another £350 million cut will have.
“As we recently saw from the informative and excellent BBC1 documentary The Council – Scotland’s Councils are there for those that need us the most and budget cuts affect those people more than anyone.
“In many instances if the Council was not there to pick up the pieces – who else would be?"
Councillor O’Neill continued:
“As I said in the run up to the budget announcement, all too often when we talk of cuts to local government these are seen in the abstract. The reality is that we are talking about real cuts to services and jobs.
“The simple truth is that a cut to local government means a cut in teaching assistants, a cut in levels of care for all our elderly relatives, cuts for the homeless as a freezing winter starts to bite, and cuts to gritting of the roads at a time of freezing temperatures when trains and the wider transport network is struggling to cope.
“The government cannot simply bat this away by claiming that they are treating local government ‘fairly’ and ‘providing enough cash’.
”The financial facts are straightforward on this matter:
• In 2017/18 the revenue settlement for Local Government fell by 3.6% (£349m)
• In 2017/18 Local Government’s share of the Scottish budget fell from 30.6% to 29.7%
• LG Revenue Funding as a share of SG funding has decreased by 3.7% (£1bn) between 2010/11 and 2017/18
“Make no mistake the Scottish Government has a political choice here and with additional cash of £418m for next year there was no need for such a drastic cut to Local Government. However the political choice was made and it is now COSLA’s job to highlight the realities of this decision via #BudgetReality.”