COSLA has today (Monday) warned governments in both Westminster and Holyrood that cuts to councils mean cuts to communities and primarily the poorest people within communities.

Speaking in advance of the UK Chancellor’s budget statement on Wednesday COSLA’s Finance Spokesperson Councillor Kevin Keenan said:

“The decisions taken by the UK Government later this week, and then by Scottish Government Ministers next month, will have a massive bearing on communities in terms of local services and local jobs.

“It would be a dereliction of my duty as COSLA’s Finance Spokesperson if I did not make the Chancellor in London and the Cabinet Secretary in Edinburgh fully aware of the consequences of their actions if yet again local government, local services and local jobs bear the brunt of their cuts.

“As recent reports from the Fraser of Allander Institute and the IFS have shown, Scottish local government is already under severe financial pressure due to the political choices taken by the centre.  For the sake of local services and local jobs within communities throughout Scotland I can only hope that they recognise local government is at a defining moment and that the communities we represent can take no more pain.

“It is time for an honest debate – there is no more meat on the bone.  This time round there are no more soft targets  – we would be talking of severe cuts in vital services and job losses in communities and sadly these will impact on the poorest in our society.  In addition to this, over the last 5 years 40,000 jobs have been shed in local government.  

“That’s 40,000 people in an economy looking for alternative employment.   In areas where local government is the main employer, this is catastrophic and it is those areas that have suffered the most.  Communities and the economy are suffering alike.

“No elected Councillor wants to see this happen, but sadly as more and more of our democratic decisions are taken by national politicians I can only make the appeal on behalf of the people that our message is not only heard by those who control the purse strings but is acted upon.  

“Increased central direction of how we deliver education and health and social care means that any cuts from the centre fall disproportionally on the areas the council does have discretion.  It is as worrying as it is stark that a 5% cut to local government can mean a 55% cut to services such as economic development, employability and other key areas for tackling inequalities.”

Article published: 
Mon, 21/11/2016 - 09:48