COSLA warns of 'severe cuts' to services
COSLA warns that Scottish councils are operating in a "financial straightjacket" and further cuts will affect vital services
COSLA has warned the Scottish and UK governments that councils in Scotland are already facing half a billion pounds of budget pressures in the next financial year.
Speaking in advance of the Chancellor’s budget statement on Wednesday, COSLA’s finance spokesperson Councillor Kevin Keenan said: “Scottish local government is already facing nearly half a billion pounds of spending pressures for next year and this is before George Osbourne or John Swinney even have their pencils out.
“For the sake of communities throughout Scotland I can only hope that neither of their pencils are particularly sharp because Scottish local government and the communities we represent cannot really take any more pain.
“We are already operating within a financial straightjacket in terms of the tools we have at our disposal with things like the council tax freeze restricting our ability to operate.
“Make no mistake, councils are going to be faced with making very difficult decisions, but this time around we are talking about more than soft targets – we are talking of severe cuts in vital services and job losses in communities, and undoubtedly these will impact on the most vulnerable in our society.
“No one in local government wants to see that happen, so it is imperative that this message is not only heard by those who control the purse strings but is acted upon.”
In June COSLA called for an end to the council tax freeze “as a matter of urgency”, saying that local people should be allowed to “decide on levels of local taxation in relation to the services they want”.
A number of councils are already consulting on budget savings for the next financial year and further cuts to budgets are expected as a result of Wednesday’s spending review.
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