COSLA calls on all parties to make commitments to local government in manifestos
COSLA is calling on all political parties to acknowledge the role of local government in their manifestos ahead of this year’s Scottish parliamentary elections.
It wants parties to commit to ensuring that the role of elected councillors is not diminished, that there is no reduction in local government functions, an end to centralisation, and fair funding for councils, including an end to ringfencing of funds.
The organisation, which represents all 32 councils in Scotland, hopes parties will reference its Blueprint for Local Government in their manifestos and make a commitment to its aspirations.
The blueprint, which was published in September, sets out councils’ vision for their role in the future and what they believe is needed to get there.
Funding is a key issue, with councils calling for an agreed fiscal framework for local government funding, multi-year budgets and more freedom to set council tax rates and create other discretionary taxes.
COSLA president Councillor Alison Evison said: “This last year has been like no other, the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament will be like no other and local government is the sphere of government at the heart of our communities like no other.
“The COSLA blueprint provides a narrative around the kind of country we want, and about the changes that could make a real difference to communities across the country – the elections in May offer the chance to make this a reality.
“The value of local government can be seen in our response to COVID-19, where councils have taken decisive action to support communities, people, and businesses.
“For too long now local government has been given a poor diet – and that is why we developed the local government blueprint, which is our menu for change that we want to see.
“The new parliament provides the opportunity for us to reiterate our value – for too long Scottish local government has not had its rightful place at the top table.
“Our response during the pandemic has been remarkable, our communities have appreciated what we have done on their behalf and realise that only local government comprises all of the various ingredients that can truly deliver for our communities
“Therefore we call on all parties to make a commitment to the COSLA local government blueprint in their forthcoming manifestos.”