Scottish budget shows little focus on prevention and tackling poverty, says COSLA
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COSLA has today (Wednesday) described the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget as a missed opportunity for the communities of Scotland in relation to tackling poverty.

COSLA also added that Scotland’s Council Leaders, Councillors, the Local Government Workforce and communities should be treated with the respect they deserve demonstrated through investment, not cuts.

COSLA said:  “At a special meeting just before Christmas, there was dismay and frustration from Scotland’s Council Leaders about the way Local Government and the communities we represent had been treated in the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget.  As the Budget currently stands, communities will see and feel a range of negative impacts.

“COSLA’s ‘Councils are Key’ budget lobbying campaign set out the case for fair funding that would allow Local Government to deliver for the people of Scotland, particularly around tackling poverty, one of the three shared priorities laid out in the Verity House Agreement.

“The response from the Scottish Government to our Budget ask is disappointing and will mean that the potential that councils have to prevent problems occurring will be limited severely.

"Specifically on poverty, the Budget should have had a focus on tackling the root causes of poverty, particularly its impacts on children. This would have needed a greater prioritisation of the work councils do in prevention and early support. The essential social supports councils provide in homes, schools, hubs and communities that aim to support and empower people will be further eroded – this has been the case for a number of years now, due to poor Local Government settlements that cut core funding.

"Services that support Local Government to Keep the Promise made to Scotland's care experienced children and young people like family support and youth work, are under threat as a result of the proposed Scottish budget.  Tackling poverty in Scotland will continue to be a significant challenge when councils do not have the resources they need to support communities. This year’s Budget presented the opportunity prioritise prevention and tackle inequity, to invest in communities and realise our ambitions to end poverty in Scotland. It did not deliver. Without a fair settlement for Councils, the poverty gap in Scotland will continue to grow. Investing in Local Government is key to a fairer Scotland.”

“The proposed Council Tax Freeze means that money which could have been invested in tackling poverty upstream - in families, communities and schools – is lost, missing a real opportunity to unlock Councils’ potential.

“COSLA’s President, Vice President and political Group Leaders from all parties have written to the Deputy First Minister and are seeking an urgent meeting.  Council Leaders will not let this lie, they simply cannot afford to because it will have such a detrimental impact on the communities they represent.”