Scottish Government cannot expect economy to grow if it keeps cutting council services

The ability for councils to drive economic development in their communities is at risk as a result of cuts to council budgets, COSLA has warned today (Friday).

COSLA has warned that the Government has not considered successive years of cuts, or rising inflation and demand and have therefore put Scotland’s economy at risk.

The Scottish Government draft budget falls far short of what COSLA considers a fair settlement for Local Government.

It results in a £95m (£300m real terms) cut to revenue and £117m (£130m real terms) cut to capital budgets. The impact of these cuts will continue to be felt.  This budget does not recognise this vital role Local Government plays in the economy across Scotland.

The capital settlement is particularly devastating and puts at risk several significant capital projects which would promote inclusive growth across Scotland.

COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson Councillor Steven Heddle said: “Councils campaigned strongly for an increase in funding so that we can continue to develop local economies that provide fair and accessible work opportunities for everyone.

“Regretfully, the Government has again ignored these warnings and failed to recognise the unique role councils play in growing local economies.

“We are the main employer in almost every local authority in Scotland providing a tenth of Scotland’s workforce. If any other part of the economy was facing the risks we are, the Government would step in.

“When councils have the money to invest in capital projects, the benefits are felt across communities – from training and apprenticeships to support for local supply chains - this year’s Capital Budget will mean these benefits will all be lost.

“Less core revenue funding for economic development support, planning and regulation will also hit communities hard.

“We are calling on the Government and the Parliament to address these concerns, listen to our asks and prevent the loss of essential council services which communities rely upon.”

Article published: 
Fri, 21/02/2020 - 10:34