William Eichler 05 December 2022

Scottish council chiefs issue SOS call

Scottish council chiefs issue SOS call image
Image: Fotokon / Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders in Scotland today launched a campaign ahead of the Scottish budget calling on Holyrood to Save our Services.

Launching the SOS call ahead of next week’s budget, COSLA warned that Scotland’s local authorities were in an ‘extremely precarious financial situation’.

Councils north of the border currently face an estimated £1bn funding gap in 2023/24 – a gap which COSLA’s vice president Cllr Steven Heddle describes as ‘extremely dangerous ground.’

‘Make no mistake, what we will now face is councils struggling to deliver even the basic, essential services that communities rely on,’ said Cllr Heddle.

‘To put this into perspective, the estimated £1bn gap for councils in 23/24 is the equivalent of the entire budget for early learning and childcare across Scotland or 17,500 teachers.

‘A funding gap of this magnitude will have an impact on all our communities, with the most vulnerable who rely on these services suffering the worst consequences.’

COSLA’s president Cllr Shona Morrison said: ‘There are many areas in which local and Scottish government work together for our communities and I fully appreciate that money is extremely tight – all Governments are having to cope with rising inflation and fuel costs.

‘However, with little room left to manoeuvre, the Scottish government’s spending plans as they stand will see council services either significantly reduced, cut or stopped altogether. 70% of local government’s budget is spent on staffing, so it is inevitable that current spending plans will lead to job losses. The very serious impact of this scenario is that the critical work council staff do on prevention and early intervention will reduce significantly.’

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