The budget reality is that a crisis remains
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COSLA said it was disappointed that once again the Scottish Government has presented a Budget for Local Government that looks much better than the reality behind the figures.

Speaking this afternoon following the Scottish Government’s (Thursday) Budget announcement, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said:

“On the face of it this looks like a good Budget for Local Government with a cash increase of £495million and whilst we acknowledge this money, the reality behind this figure unfortunately is quite different.

“What we are left with when you factor in the Scottish Government commitments of £590million - is a cut to Local Government core budgets of £95 million. This is £95 million in hard cash that will need to be taken out of front line services for communities. We campaigned hard to ensure that this position did not happen – it is disappointing our message has not been listened to.

“When you add in a £117million cut to capital funding (which equates to a 17% cash cut) - a hit to both communities and growing the economy you are left with a crisis for Local Government which is a long way from the picture being painted. This is even worse when seen in the context of an increasing Budget for the Scottish Government.

COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison added: “Local Government’s core budget which provides our essential services has been cut as a result of today’s budget. A cut of a significant proportion is the Budget Reality that our Communities now face - a cut to services, a cut to local jobs, a cut to the work councils do to tackle child poverty and respond to climate change.”

“In addition to the cuts – it is also extremely disappointing that we have seen no money for inflation or any other of the significant pressures we face, such as restoration for cuts to our funding in previous years. COSLA will be raising these issues with the Scottish Government and all parties across the Parliament at the earliest opportunity to ensure this picture is rectified as part of the budget scrutiny process. It is our communities and the priorities of tacking child poverty, wellbeing, climate change and inclusive growth that will suffer.

“Things cannot go on in this manner. I am really concerned that more and more of what Local Government does is directed by the centre. As a result of the Scottish Government commitments that Local Government has to deliver we are no longer able to respond to local priorities.”