Scottish budget a "missed opportunity" for Net Zero and the economy, says COSLA
  • Twitter icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Send an email


COSLA described the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget as a missed opportunity for the communities of Scotland in relation to transforming our economy and meeting climate targets on Friday 29th December, following a COSLA special meeting of council leaders.

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 Transforming our Economy through a just transition to deliver net zero, 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.

"The Budget is bad news for the just transition to a net zero economy. We are still analysing the impact across all services but one notable cut is to the regeneration capital grant fund (RCGF) and the vacant and derelict land improvement programme (VDLIP). Overall capital regeneration funding to Local Government has been cut by 27%, from £62.5m to £45.8m. This undermines work to regenerate communities, tackle inequalities and to reduce carbon emissions. This means the RCGF, which is jointly managed by Local and Scottish Government, now won’t be open to new bids for 2024-25.  Our town centres and communities will be worse off due to this decision.

“On a larger scale, cuts to local government revenue and capital funding are completely the wrong things to do if Government is serious about tackling climate change and its impact on society and the economy. Given that 82% of all emissions are within the scope of influence of Local Authorities, plans to deliver on the Scottish Government 2030 statutory target must now be in serious doubt a few weeks after Ministers were talking up Scotland at COP 28.

“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.”