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The long-term reduction in funding settlements, the introduction of one year budget cycles and increasingly directed funding severely restricts the ability of Councils, as Employers, to offer and agree meaningful pay deals that address the critical recruitment and retention issues across all levels of our workforce COSLA said today (Thursday).

COSLA also said that, as well as giving our workforce the pay increases that they deserve, a properly resourced and empowered Local Government could provide essential support and protection for the Local Government Workforce against the cost crisis facing Scotland.

COSLA stressed that if Local Government was given adequate funding and flexibility in the first place, Scottish Government would not be required to intervene. This year, Scottish Government has provided additional funding for pay, but another £140m still has to be found by Councils to meet the current deal, which will impact on services.

Councillor Katie Hagmann, COSLA Resources Spokesperson said: “Council staff are currently playing a pivotal role in supporting people across all our communities to keep their head above water, and given how serious this situation is for many, this includes our valued workforce.

“Sadly, the reduction of funding settlements and the introduction of one year budget cycles has severely restricted the ability of Councils as Employers to offer and agree meaningful pay deals that look to address the critical recruitment and retention issues faced across all levels of our workforce.

“Local Government plays an essential role in the fabric of Scottish life and the current situation impacts on our ability to be Fair Work employers and restricts our ambition to lead the way as a public sector exemplar.

“Throughout Scotland we are seeing this cost crisis beginning to really take hold and it is only going to get worse for many people across our communities.  The Local Government workforce and their families live and work in every community in Scotland. The money they spend locally supports businesses – without a fair pay deal that helps them to face the cost crisis, that spending power is reduced and local business will feel the effects.

“It is critical that Holyrood and Westminster act now and recognise Local Government as a partner with a vital role in helping stem the effects of the cost crisis, including for our workforce as well as the wider people within our communities.

“As a key partner in the Governance of Scotland, we are happy to be involved in early stage discussions with Government to see how some of these difficulties can be overcome going forward.”