Scottish budget leaves local councils at ‘breaking point’, leaders warn

COSLA said the council tax freeze promised by the Government has not been fully funded as Humza Yousaf had pledged would be the case.

Scottish budget leaves local councils at ‘breaking point’, COSLA leaders warn PA Media

Scotland’s council leaders have warned the budget will leave services at “breaking point” with “cuts in every community” and potential job losses across local authorities.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) met on Thursday to discuss its response to the Scottish Government’s spending plans, which offered £144m in compensation for freezing council tax.

In a joint statement, COSLA leaders said the figure will not fully fund the council tax freeze – something First Minister Humza Yousaf had pledged would be the case.

COSLA also disputed the way the Government had calculated its figures for local government funding.

It said the budget is “not only leaving councils at real and significant financial risk for the coming year, but, as it stands, it will mean cuts in every community in Scotland and job losses across Scottish local government”.

Deputy first minister Shona Robison pledging £13.2bn to councils as she outlined the budget to Holyrood on Tuesday, which included £144m to fund a council tax freeze.

COSLA president Shona Morrison said: “COSLA’s initial analysis shows a real-terms cut to our revenue and capital spending power, which will leave council services at breaking point, with some having to stop altogether.

“The budget in its current form could result in service cuts, job losses and an inevitable shift to providing statutory services only.

“This means potentially losing libraries, leisure centres and all the things that improve our lives.

“COSLA’s initial analysis of the Budget is that the council tax freeze is not fully funded.

“Leaders from across Scotland agreed today that decisions on council tax can only be made by each full council, and it is for each individual council to determine their own level of council tax.

“With any sort of shortfall in core funding, the £144m revenue offered for the freeze is immediately worth less.”

COSLA resources spokeswoman Katie Hagmann said: “As it stands, this is not a good budget for our communities or the people who deliver our essential frontline services.

“This is a Budget which will mean job losses – real jobs that support families and deliver vital services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“Sadly, the Budget as it stands leaves nothing for meaningful pay rises in 24/25 so we would call on the Scottish Government to look again, so that our workforce can get the pay rise they deserve next year.”

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