Councils have seen greater reductions in funding over the last seven years than other areas of the Scottish Government budget a report from the Accounts Commission states today (Tuesday).
The report also highlights that Scotland’s councils face significant additional pressures due to Covid-19. This includes substantial and ongoing reductions in income, increased costs and the administration of business support grants and other measures of support to their communities during Covid-19.
Commenting on the report today and ahead of the Scottish Government’s Budget on Thursday COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said: The messages in today’s Accounts Commission report paint a full picture – on the face of it, there looked to be increases in Local Government funding in 19/20 but much of this was for Scottish Government’s OWN commitments, and came after years of reductions. These messages should be listened to AND ACTED UPON as they come from an independent, well respected non Local Government body.
“This report lays out why we need fair funding for Local Government in Thursday’s Budget. The trend of recent settlements for Local Government needs to change because on top of existing pressures, the COVID pandemic – as the Accounts Commission report recognises - has placed unprecedented strain on the finances of Scotland’s Councils this year.
“This year, across every community in Scotland, Local Government’s essential role has been magnified and once again we have delivered for our communities.
“Nobody in Scotland has been unaffected by this pandemic and the financial impacts of COVID-19 are severe. Individuals, families and businesses have all felt the effects and continue to look to Councils for support every day.
“Sustaining this lifeline support is placing extreme pressure on already strained budgets and without fair funding for Local Government this year, the consequences for the most vulnerable in our communities would be unacceptable.
“That is why we need fair funding for 2021/22 that respects our communities. Without this, there will be further cuts to services, reductions in spending locally, increases in the inequalities exposed by the pandemic and a much slower recovery.”