Scotland’s Council Leaders have restated their view that the Budget as it currently stands does not represent fair funding for Local Government.
Commenting ahead of the final decision on the Scottish Budget next week Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA Resources Spokesperson, said: “Our ask of Scottish Government throughout the Budget process for this year was to give Scottish Local Government the fair funding and flexibility it deserves to be able to deliver the essential services that we provide to communities.
“The settlement for 2021-22, as it stands, does very little to address years of cuts to our core funding – in fact, once all Scottish Government commitments are taken into account, the increase offered is less than 1 percent (0.9% increase on last year’s base). This comes on top of years where Local Government has seen no increase at all. Since 2013-14, Scottish Government has seen a 3.1% increase in its revenue funding (real terms) – this is in contrast to a 2.4% reduction for Local Government over the same period.
“A key part of flexibility for Councils is to have their democratic right to determine their own council tax rates in their own areas respected. Sadly the Scottish Government have not listened to us this year but Scotland’s Council Leaders have restated their view that councils should have the right to determine the level of council tax for their own areas without facing penalties in future years.”
Councillor Macgregor continued: “In light of the current offer of £90m for authorities that agree to freeze the council tax this year (2021/22), Council Leaders were clear that COSLA should continue to press for this amount to be baselined into the Local Government Settlement.
“Council Leaders also expressed their continued concern about the proposed levels of core capital funding for the next five years. It will severely restrict the ability of councils to invest locally and drive recovery from the Covid19 pandemic. We would ask that Scottish Government thinks again about Local Government’s capital grant ahead of a final decision on Tuesday.”