Social media campaign launched to highlight “severe” forthcoming cuts from Scottish Government
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) campaign will focus on the impact of future budget reductions in specific service areas
People: Picture credit - Holyrood
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has launched a social media campaign aiming to focus on “severe” forthcoming cuts from the Scottish Government.
The campaign, entitled #BudgetReality, will highlight the impact of any future budget reduction on specific service areas.
COSLA President Councillor David O’Neill said: “COSLA has a duty to make sure that the reality of the budget reaches the people who rely on our services and that is why we chose to undertake a social media campaign.
“The campaign will have two main objectives. Firstly it will highlight the cut in the quantum of resources coming to councils and secondly it will point out to the public the damage such a severe level of cut to our funding by Scottish Government will do to the public services people rely on.
“This information campaign will cover vital council services such as health and social care, education and flag up the realities other services such as parks, libraries and leisure facilities are facing.
“The public have a right to know the full impact on both communities and services that another £350 million cut will have.”
The Scottish Government said overall resources for services is going up by more than £200m when extra cash for areas such as health and social care are taken into account.
However, COSLA said the “revenue settlement” for local government is down 3.6 per cent.
The organisation said that the £107m coming in extra cash to help address bed blocking has already been earmarked for the living wage and veterans’ allowance.
O’Neill continued: “The simple truth is that a cut to local government means a cut in teaching assistants, a cut in levels of care for all our elderly relatives, cuts for the homeless as a freezing winter starts to bite, and cuts to gritting of the roads at a time of freezing temperatures when trains and the wider transport network is struggling to cope.
“The government cannot simply bat this away by claiming that they are treating local government ‘fairly’ and ‘providing enough cash’.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley said: “This is a very serious warning from COSLA. Derek Mackay must listen to the people who deliver the local services that our communities depend upon.
“Labour will table amendments to the SNP's budget to stop, in full, the cuts to local services like schools and care of the elderly, and to invest in our economy. The Scottish Parliament has the powers to generate extra resources to make the cuts unnecessary.”
The budget bill was published on Friday and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay described it as "a budget for growth and public services".
He said: "We have published a budget for growth and public services, for our environment and our communities. It delivers increased investment in education, with £120m for schools to use at their discretion to close the attainment gap in 2017/18 - £20m more than previously announced.”
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