Mark Conrad 28 February 2017

Scottish councils slash spending by 11%

Scottish councils have slashed their spending by 11% over five years, new figures have shown.

Analysis published by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) showed that leisure services, parks and road maintenance have been among the major casualties of local government’s spending squeeze.

COSLA’s local government benchmarking gramework found that Scotland’s 32 councils reduced their spending from £17.18bn in 2010/11 to £15.3bn in 2015/16 – a real terms reduction of 11%.

Education spending was down by 4% across the period, but adult social care spending increased by 6% over the five years – necessitating big cuts to other services. Roads maintenance was cut by 21%, for example.

COSLA president David O’Neill said the report showed that ‘despite the financial pressures, Scotland’s councils continue to cope’.

A separate analysis published by the Scottish Government today revealed that local authorities reported a revenue surplus on service provision of £0.45bn for 2015/16.

But referring to the longer-term picture, the COSLA report read: ‘If similar savings were necessary again across the next five years, severe issues of capacity, resilience and maintaining performance will need to be addressed.’

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