Martin Ford 07 September 2020

Scottish councils release blueprint for change

A local government blueprint laying out the changes required to unlock councils’ full potential has been published by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) today.

Key asks are laid out in the document to ‘empower’ local government in the ‘recovery and renewal process’ following the coronavirus lockdown.

Many of the asks are financial, warning the pandemic has ‘placed extreme pressure on already strained budgets’.

Chief among the demands is for a fiscal framework for councils, similar to that which underpins the devolved powers of the Scottish Government.

COSLA also called for ‘longer-term certainty’ in funding to help budget-setting, the removal of council tax caps and powers for discretionary taxation.

The report added: ‘Without proper resourcing we will see reductions in spending and inevitable cuts to services, furthering the inequalities exposed by the pandemic and putting at risk the very recovery we seek.’

COSLA is also asking for ringfencing within education funding to be ‘reversed’ to enable more flexibility.

COSLA vice-president, Cllr Graham Houston, said: ‘The blueprint we are launching today provides a narrative around the kind of country we want and about the changes that could make a real difference to communities across the country.

‘We have proved our worth, we will continue to deliver and our blueprint is the menu for change that local government now requires.’

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