The membership body for Scotland’s councils has highlighted the role of local authorities in creating and supporting economic growth that works for all of our citizens. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has cautioned that, without adequate funding, local authorities’ role in encouraging and developing local inclusive economic growth will be undermined.
Without a fair settlement for local authorities COSLA has warned that the central contribution councils make to creating a fully inclusive economy is being impeded by a lack of investment in Local Government. Furthermore, with continuing protection and ring-fencing of large parts of the Local Government budget, Councils are finding it increasingly difficult to fully develop innovative solutions for local economies and communities.
COSLA Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said:
“Scotland’s councils are regenerating places, supporting businesses and leading economic development by spending significant amounts of money in every part of the country.
“We build, we connect, we train, we regulate, we plan, we educate, and we employ. We reduce inequalities and create sustainable communities all across Scotland with the levels of funding we spend on and for our local citizens.
“Without increased investment in council budgets, all of our communities will be affected but particularly those that face the challenge of poverty and disadvantage Vacant shops, empty high streets, the state of our roads, and cuts to public transport mean that every time you leave your house you’ll regrettably see the result of a cut to a council budget.
“I implore the Government to realise just how much damage cuts have done to councils and therefore the communities we serve, and for that to be reversed in the Local Government settlement.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:
“Across Scotland more than a million people are locked in poverty. This simply isn’t right, but we know that Local Government holds some of the keys that can help release people from poverty.
“The public services that Local Authorities deliver are vital for everyone but are especially important for people living on low incomes. These services are critical if we are to re-design the local economy in a way that works for everyone and ensures that people living on low incomes are part of an inclusive economy.
“It is critical that Local Authorities receive all the support they need to ensure that they can play a full role in delivering an inclusive local economy and reducing poverty.”
Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee said:
“Local Government services are crucial for economic growth. Yet the Scottish and UK governments have failed to make the necessary investment in Local Government services. A decade of austerity has been a disaster for local services. Latest Audit Scotland research confirms that Scottish councils have suffered over 7% real terms cut in funding since 2014. The Scottish Government could and should have done a lot more, like taken advantage of their tax powers to maintain essential services. There is massive underinvestment in public services, and we join with COSLA to call on all government to take urgent action to invest in our councils.”