Cosla President: This budget could put the final nail into our communities
Scotland has a long and proud tradition of delivering high quality public services but, with the proposed settlement from Scottish Government, the ability of councils to maintain even essential services is coming under real threat.
The Scottish Government’s draft budget for local government should be of considerable concern to us all. There is a £237m cash cut to the core budget which does not recognise that the essential services that Local Government deliver are the foundations on which Scotland is built.
Even today, every person in Scotland will have encountered work done by their Council, from the street lighting that keeps us safe in the dark mornings and nights through to transport to school and across our rural communities, housing, education and social work.
In many areas our investment in local people and local places plays an essential role in strengthening the communities that we live in.
This can be seen through our investment in education, transport, social care, environmental protection, leisure centres, museums, trading standards and so much more.
Scottish local authorities have a unique role in promoting and achieving inclusive economic growth across the communities which stand at the heart of Scotland’s prosperity. This is our firm aim. But it is an aim we cannot achieve without adequate financial support.
The draft budget will have a considerable impact on the important work Local Government does and in turn, on the daily lives of citizens and communities across Scotland.
Council budgets have been subject to year on year cuts , while at the same time the demands on the services they provide have only increased.
That is why we have now reached a point where there is simply nowhere left to go.
Without a rethink from Scottish Government or a Parliamentary intervention, these budget proposals could put the final nail into many communities and services we deliver.
The settlement for Scottish Local Government, as it currently stands, puts inclusive growth for our whole country at risk.
This is not an idle threat. This settlement means that real jobs in real communities will go. It is as stark and simple as that.
Cllr Alison Evison is President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities