Cosla Leaders will meet tomorrow to discuss today’s (Thursday) Budget announcement. Parts of the Budget will support the work of Local Government in our communities, but overall it falls short of the fair funding Local Government requires.
Speaking this afternoon, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson, Councillor Gail Macgregor, said: “Given the context this year, perhaps it is not overly surprising that the Budget is very much a mixed bag for Local Government –the main issue is that the overall allocation adds very little into our core financial settlement which has been eroded over the years.
“The Cabinet Secretary, in her speech, recognised Councils’ role as deliverers of vital services and yes on the face of it there is more money but that is predominantly for Government priorities.
“The addition of £259 million flexible funding for 2021/22 will help councils address Covid related costs next year, including providing the support that the most vulnerable in our communities will require but we need solid assurances that if this figure falls short, as is expected, that further funding will be forthcoming.
“To deal with pressures this year, the announcement of an additional £110 million to help compensate Councils for loss of income, which when added to the money we have already had, makes £200 million, is to be welcomed. However, for many councils this won’t be enough - income loss will leave a very large hole in their finances for years to come. We welcome that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance has listened to Leaders requests for further funding to cover loss of income but there is still work to do where there is a shortfall.
“We welcome elements of today’s announcement but overall this budget falls short of what we would consider a fair settlement for Local Government.
“We would anticipate further constructive discussions with the Cabinet Secretary in the next few weeks.”