Scottish councils call for fair funding to avoid 'damaging consequences'

By Laura Sharman | 12 January 2021

Council leaders in Scotland have called for an end to small ring-fenced pots of funding and no cap on council tax in this year’s Budget.

In a new briefing, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) warned that communities in Scotland faced ‘unavoidable and damaging consequences’ if councils failed to receive a fair funding settlement this year.

The briefing revealed that Scottish councils have a funding gap of £360m due to the impact of COVID-19 and loss of income.

Although the Scottish Government has awarded councils £1bn to help them through the pandemic, the briefing said this money had been ‘drip fed’ to councils through 30 different funding pots.

COSLA urged any COVID-related funding for 2020/21 from the UK Government to be passed onto local government.

It also wants no cap on council tax, all policy commitments to be fully funded, additional social care costs met and adequate capital funding for affordable housing.

COSLA president, Cllr Alison Evison, said: ‘The reality is that in recent budgets, the Scottish Government has chosen not to provide enough funding for the essential services that communities rely on day in, day out.

’On top of this, this year we have had to contend with COVID-19, which has seen the inequality in our society grow.

’Our ability to recover from this and continue to deliver for Scotland’s communities depends on a change of emphasis from Scottish Government that provides fair funding for council services.’

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