COSLA response to Local Government overview report

COSLA has welcomed the report out today (Thursday) from the Accounts Commission which shows that despite a substantial cut in funding councils continue to deliver essential services for their communities as best as they can.  

Commenting on the Local Government Overview Report COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said:  “The report out today from the Accounts Commission clearly recognises that councils are balancing a real terms funding cut of 9.6 per cent over the last eight years with an increasing demand for essential services, particularly from a growing older population.

“For years now, COSLA has strongly lobbied the Scottish Government about the growing pressure from an ageing population and how we address the serious demographic challenges together in partnership.  We will keep lobbying to ensure the voices of our most vulnerable residents are heard as they deserve to be.

“The Commission rightly highlights that over and above budget cuts Councils are continually faced with uncertainty and an ever demanding policy landscape from Scottish Government.  One year settlements are debilitating for councils – COSLA is clear that we need multi-year settlements to enable us to provide long term, sustainable, efficient and effective financial planning and essential service delivery.

“In addition as the report also recognises councils have worked hard to deliver efficiency savings whilst tirelessly balancing local services but those choices are now becoming restrictive and the decisions being taken are much more about what services must and need to be delivered.

“Councils have continued, again as the report recognises, to take hard and difficult decisions, amid high public expectations and we have delivered for our communities as best as we can. Councils have already transformed and will continue to do so, but it is not an overnight fix.  Public sector pay is also a recent example of where expectations have been raised with no funding from Scottish Government attached.

“We know a lot of our funding comes for specific policy areas, this can stifle local autonomy and real ‘needs-based’ flexibility. Many of these policies place restrictions on councils and present immense pressures on other essential council services - a number of new Scottish Government policies have been directed towards particular areas and this targeting is not always helpful.”

Article published: 
Thu, 05/04/2018 - 00:01