A real terms reduction in Local Government funding in recent years must be halted to prevent Scotland’s communities and businesses suffering the effects of further cutbacks, COSLA has said today.
This year’s Scottish Budget – being announced on December 9 – should also recognise Local Government’s unique role in economic transformation, and must enable meaningful reinvestment in the services that underpin the economy. Councils have significant spending power and the potential to build local wealth. Every pound spent in a local area - on pay, goods and services, and on capital projects - stays in and strengthens the local economy that enables people to ‘Live Well, Locally’.
COSLA also warns that without adequate funding for Local Government to support economic transformation, issues such as unemployment and child poverty will continue to rise, hitting communities hard and costing the whole system more in the long run.
COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson, Councillor Gail Macgregor, said: “The economic challenges faced across Scotland require a new response - one that is in tune with the needs of local areas and resourced sustainably.
“The Scottish Budget on December 9 presents a perfect opportunity to reset Scottish public spending in a way that empowers councils to achieve their ambition for our communities, creating jobs and sharing prosperity.
“Scotland’s Councils have invaluable local intelligence with local businesses, colleges and universities, about key sectors, local labour markets, and skills/training needs that should be valued and fully utilised to allow our communities to thrive and enable people to ’Live Well Locally’.
“As well as the many great examples we have in our Lobbying document, take somewhere like Dundee where as part of the major development to their waterfront that includes the prestigious V&A Museum, Dundee City Council has used its influence to encourage payment of the living wage by partners and private sector business including its contractors. In addition, units that have been created for let are being leased to businesses that are committed to providing the living wage delivering positive and sustainable developments to the local economy.”
COSLA Vice President Councillor Graham Houston added: “Only Councils have the vital local connections across the services that underpin economic transformation we require post-COVID. Take something like housing for example – a basic human right. It is not just about throwing up new homes – it’s about building them in a way which helps transform our communities, in a way which is affordable, and in a way which supports our commitments to tackle climate change and to community wealth building.
“There has to be that connectivity that only Local Government can provide. Councils make and shape the places we live in and love and with proper funding form Government would be the real enablers in allowing people to ‘Live Well, Locally.’”
Councillor Alison Evison, COSLA President concluded: “One of the reasons our communities are suffering is that recent years have seen a real terms reduction in Local Government funding overall, so Councils have had to prioritise protected areas like social work and education, over economic development, roads and transport.
“But these are the essential service areas that are critical in attracting investment, developing businesses, and creating jobs – this can create the conditions to lift families out of poverty.
“That is why this year’s Scottish Budget must recognise Local Government’s unique role in economic transformation, and must enable meaningful reinvestment in the services that underpin the economy.”
COSLA launched its Live Well Locally budget lobbying campaign on November 15. You can read more here: COSLA LAUNCHES BUDGET LOBBYING CAMPAIGN | COSLA