The essential, everyday services provided by Scotland’s Councils – upon which we all rely – have once again been undervalued and underappreciated by today’s (Tuesday) passing of the Budget, says COSLA.
Speaking this evening, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson, Councillor Gail Macgregor, said: “Our ask of Scottish Government throughout the Budget process was to give Scotland’s 32 Councils the fair funding and flexibility they deserve to be able to deliver the essential services that they provide to communities and have continued to provide throughout the COVID pandemic. We are pleased that the Cabinet Secretary has listened to Local Government and agreed to baseline the £90m that was made available to councils who chose to freeze Council Tax during 2021-22.
“However, our key ask around fair funding and local flexibility has not been met with the passing of the Budget today – instead we are left with a Budget deal which does very little to address a decade of cuts to Local Government’s core funding, and once again ring fenced pots of money for specific Scottish Government policies . Without flexible additional funding to our core Budget, our ability to help recover from COVID is severely eroded.”
“The essential services that Local Government deliver are the foundations for strong communities across Scotland – today’s announcement means that these foundations will come under even more pressure.
“This is not the deal we wanted – it is not a good deal for communities and serious financial challenges lie ahead for councils. Not least in relation to our ability to recognise the amazing effort of our workforce – where Scottish Government has not recognised the pressures such as pay being faced by Councils.
“Scottish Government has raised expectations yet further through their public sector pay policy - without any increase to Local Government’s core funding, a pay increase for our workforce will have to be funded from elsewhere. This will only lead to a reduction in everyday essential services that communities rely on."