William Eichler 06 January 2020

Scottish council chiefs warn budgets at ‘breaking point’

Local authority leaders in Scotland have today warned Holyrood that council budgets are at ‘breaking point’.

The amount of funding for Scotland’s councils to spend on essential services has been reduced in recent years, forcing many authorities to delve into their reserves.

A recent report from the Accounts Commission found that two-thirds of councils have reduced their general fund reserves over the last three years.

Accounts Commission chair, Graham Sharp, told The MJ change was required to ‘make services sustainable in future’.

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) president Cllr Alison Evison today urged the Scottish government to ‘provide Scotland’s councils with a fair settlement as part of this year’s budget.’

COSLA agreed last November to review the funding formula for Scottish councils.

The system of local government funding in Scotland sees a group, which is made up of COSLA, and representatives of central and local government, determine the allocation of grant to councils using a funding formula.

‘Without adequate investment in Scotland’s Councils the cracks are starting to show,’ Cllr Evison said.

‘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,’ she added.

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