Commenting today COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Katie Hagmann said: “The first annual LGiU State of Local Government Finance in Scotland survey, completely reinforces our key budget message that ‘Councils are Key’.
“It is important that the consistent concerns raised by COSLA are now being backed up by research from LGiU’s Scotland Survey, the results of which are out today.
“There is widespread agreement on the most pressing issues that are faced councils at the moment. Inflation, ring-fencing, staff recruitment and retention as well as the cost of living crisis and demand pressures linked to demographic change have all been acknowledged.
“Additionally, LGiU’s survey rightly highlights the concerns around adult social care and children’s services and the incredible pressures on our council finances.
“Some of the statistics from the survey, whilst stark, also come as no great surprise to those of us in Local Government.
- 86% of respondents said they would put Council Tax up by more than 5%
- All said that they will be making service cuts; 97% will be putting up fees and charges
- 76% of respondents believe that these cuts will be evident to the public, and only 24% think that services are currently as good as they were last year
- 25% said that they are concerned that they will not have enough money in 24/25 for statutory services and won’t be able to balance books.
- 80% of respondents said that adult social care is the greatest single challenge, and only 11% believe that Scottish Government is taking this seriously.
- 40% will be considering asset sales in 24/25 to raise funding.
“Sadly, as this LGiU Scotland survey points out, our reality right now is extremely challenging - years of real-terms cuts to council budgets have been coupled with additional policy commitments.
“If this situation doesn’t improve, it will mean tough choices will have to be made. There is a danger that front line, essential services that we currently provide, will cease. Services that not only address problems on the ground, but actively prevent more serious issues occurring down the line.”
Councillor Hagmann concluded: “Next week’s Scottish Government Budget is critical for Scotland and I continue to meet with Scottish Government to highlight these pressing issues. As COSLA highlights in our Councils are Key campaign, what councils deliver with and on behalf of our communities is key to creating the safe, healthy, vibrant and empowered communities we all want to see.
“Local Government holds the key to unlocking the potential in local areas, with its unique understanding of context, challenges and opportunities in individual local areas.