Value of Local Government services not recognised in budget – says COSLA

COSLA said it was disappointed that the value of the essential services provided by Scottish Local Government has not been recognised by the Scottish Government in today’s (Wednesday) budget announcement.

COSLA went on to describe today’s proposed budget as a cash cut to Local Government’s core budget and said that as a priority would use the next few weeks to engage in meaningful dialogue with both Scottish Government and the wider Scottish Parliament.

Speaking this afternoon COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said: “First and foremost my feeling is one of disappointment. Disappointment for councils, disappointment for communities and disappointment that Local Government’s role as a deliverer of vital services, an employer and a procurer has not been recognised.

“There is always smoke and mirrors around how those at the centre present their budget. The one message that the Scottish people need to take from today’s budget is that the Local Government’s core budget which provides our essential services has taken a hit.

“We have engaged positively with Scottish Government throughout these budget negotiations and we have run a positive campaign around the meaningful impact that our essential services make to communities throughout Scotland.

“The essential services that Local Government deliver are the foundations on which Scotland is built – today’s announcement means that these foundations are under severe pressure.”

COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison said: “Whichever way you want to dress it up, the reality of the situation is that yet again the totality of the essential services Councils deliver has been neglected by the Scottish Government.

“There is no scope for Local Government to mitigate the impact of these cuts as there has been no movement yet on local taxation – the 3% Council Tax Cap remains and there is no indication about discretionary taxation, including Tourist Tax.

“It is extremely frustrating that, having worked well on a range of issues with the Government this year, our contribution to meeting key outcomes across Scotland has not yet been acknowledged.

“What we have today is a bad deal for communities and for jobs. Given these proposals today, serious financial challenges lie ahead for councils.”

Article published: 
Wed, 12/12/2018 - 18:02