William Eichler 22 November 2016

Communities ‘can take no more pain’, councillors warn

Local government is at a ‘defining moment’ and communities ‘can take no more pain’, Scottish council chiefs warn.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has warned that further cuts to councils mean cuts to communities, and primarily the poorest people within communities.

Speaking ahead of the Autumn Statement, COSLA’s finance spokesperson Cllr Kevin Keenan said yesterday it would be a ‘dereliction’ of his duty if he did not alert the UK and Scottish governments to the consequences ‘if yet again local government, local services and local jobs bear the brunt of their cuts.’

‘Scottish local government is already under severe financial pressure due to the political choices taken by the centre,’ he said.

‘For the sake of local services and local jobs within communities throughout Scotland I can only hope that they recognise local government is at a defining moment and that the communities we represent can take no more pain.’

Cllr Keenan said there were no more ‘soft targets’ for cuts; a continuation of austerity measures would inevitably hit vital services and cause job losses.

‘Increased central direction of how we deliver education and health and social care means that any cuts from the centre fall disproportionally on the areas the council does have discretion,’ he continued.

‘It is as worrying as it is stark that a 5% cut to local government can mean a 55% cut to services such as economic development, employability and other key areas for tackling inequalities.’

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