Budget response from COSLA

Local Government has faced really difficult times over the last few years and these will remain into the future despite a more measured approach by the Scottish Government in delivering the local government settlement for next year.  

However, this is not a flat cash settlement, COSLA said today (Thursday).

Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson said: “I would like to start by putting on record the engagement the Cabinet Secretary has had with us to meet the pressures that we have presented, particularly in relation to our shared priorities.

“That said, the reality is that this is not a flat cash revenue settlement for local government.  It is a cut of £153m for essential local government services.

“In addition to this, while COSLA is fully supportive of wider capital investment we are disappointed that there is a cut of £60m to local capital funding.

“There are serious financial challenges that lie ahead in several areas and there is no doubt that these will have an impact on the essential services that councils deliver.  A particular issue is public sector pay if this is not fully funded.

“Whilst councils have the ability to raise council tax in their local area that is a decision they will take based on local needs and circumstances and is subject to a 3 per cent cap which has been imposed on councils by the Scottish Government.

“The current Spending Review process makes it extremely difficult for councils to set medium and long term financial plans due to short term funding and annual settlements.”

Councillor Macgregor concluded by saying: “The discussions in relation to this year’s settlement between COSLA and Scottish Government have been both positive and constructive.”

COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison added: “COSLA has been engaging with all political parties across the Parliament throughout this process and, as this is a draft budget, we will continue to defend essential services over the coming weeks.”

Article published: 
Thu, 14/12/2017 - 15:23