Budgets are at breaking point warning

Monday 6 January 2020

Convention of Scottish 
Local Authorities (COSLA)

COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison has today (Monday 6 January 2020) warned that years without fair funding for Scottish Local Government has meant that councils’ budgets are at breaking point.

In recent years the amount of funding for Scotland’s councils to spend on essential services has reduced, as well as being increasingly ringfenced for specific Scottish Government priorities, meaning local politicians have less freedom to deliver for their communities.

Commenting on the state of  Local Government Finance COSLA President Councillor Evison said:  “Without adequate investment in Scotland’s Councils the cracks are starting to show.  In every indicator whether it is economic growth, tackling climate change, well-being or child poverty, cuts to council budgets will mean targets are missed.

“This goes well beyond money.  This goes to the heart of our communities.  We now have a situation where communities are losing their sense of pride as social isolation rises due to community projects and initiatives being cut.

“If the Scottish Government is truly serious about creating sustainable communities then they must provide Scotland’s Councils with a fair settlement as part of this year’s budget.”

Inverclyde Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, has supported the national calls for more investment in core council budgets.

He said: “Just last year it was revealed by the Scottish Parliament that in Inverclyde our reduction in funding has been the equivalent of £104 for every resident in the past six years.

“Communities like Inverclyde and many others across Scotland are crying out for real investment in local services to allow local elected representatives and communities to have a real say in what it’s used for, to set our local priorities and to see local government on the road back to being properly and fully funded.

“As an area Inverclyde has delivered cuts to services to make up for the shortfall and we are now at the point where future cuts are going to be severe enough that large scale essential services will be in the firing line.

“Investment in local government is investment in the economy.  Councils are, in most areas, the largest employer and the biggest spender.  If the Government reverses the cuts agenda and delivers a real, honest investment budget for local government, the local and Scottish economy will be the real beneficiaries.”

The Scottish Parliament’s research service, SPICE, report Local government finance: facts and figures 2013-14 to 2019-20 published in July 2019 showed the scale of cuts to local government in Scotland.

During that time Inverclyde Council’s funding was reduced by the equivalent of £104 for every resident. 

Page last updated: 6 January 2020