Cosla calls for £545m revenue boost for Scots councils

17 Nov 17

Scottish council leaders have demanded a revenue increase of £545m to achieve “adequate and fair funding” for local government in a Budget submission to the chancellor.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) stated the budget would need to rise by 5.7% in 2018-19 “just to stand still” on current services due to rising demand and inflation.

Cosla said local government in Scotland has faced an 8% real-terms cut in funding between 2010-11 and 2017-18.

Ahead of the Budget next week, Cosla’s 10-page document Fair Funding for Essential Services has set out the body’s case for a fair settlement for local government.

Gail Macgregor, Cosla’s resources spokesperson, said: “Enough is enough, Scottish local government can no longer be the poor relation of the Scottish public sector.”

She said local government provided essential services and employed 10% of Scotland’s workforce and it was therefore “vital” to invest in local government to stimulate and develop inclusive economic growth. 

The organisation noted that councils have made £1.4bn of efficiency savings and lost 15,000 full-time equivalent staff since 2012, with charges increasing by 13% between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

Macgregor added: “That is why we are asking that in the 2018-19 Budget there is adequate and fair funding for all local government services.”

Echoing this call, Cosla president Alison Evison said: “Recent settlements for local government have put huge pressures on local services and local jobs.

“Year on year challenges have forced councils to make difficult choices and cut services. We need a fair settlement for the year ahead.”

She argued there is no more room for manoeuvre in the upcoming Budget, local government needed fair treatment if it is to continue to provide much-needed services.

A Scottish government spokeperson said: “Councils are receiving funding through the local government finance settlement of more than £10.4bn for 2017-18.

“Taken together with a range of other measures this amounts to £383m in additional support compared to 2016-17.

“Local council budgets for 2018-19 will be confirmed later this year.”

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