West Lothian is the latest council to quit COSLA
Labour-led West Lothian has become the sixth council to announce its intention to quit the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and South Lanarkshire have all given notice to leave the organisation in April 2015. Glasgow is expected to follow suit later this week. All the councils are controlled by Labour administrations.
Concerns about the financial settlement the authorities receive from the Scottish Government are at the heart of their decision to break with COSLA.
West Lothian Council leader John McGinty said: “We are giving COSLA one year’s notice of our intention to leave the organisation. In the past few weeks, a significant proportion of member councils have already given notice that they plan to leave COSLA in April 2015.
“There is a huge amount of uncertainty and instability surrounding COSLA at the present time and, at this stage, it is not clear how that will develop over the coming year.
“In 2015/16, West Lothian Council faces a significant funding gap of nearly £12m as funding received by the Scottish Government is not sufficient to meet the needs of local people.
“Significant challenges lie ahead and the decision today shows that we are reserving our right to take the appropriate precautionary measures which we firmly believe are in the best interests of local people.”
All the local authorities have reserved their right to withdraw their notice to quit at any point in the next 12 months.
West Lothian deputy council leader Cathy Muldoon added: “These are uncertain times at COSLA and all councils face budget pressures. We believe that our approach to notify COSLA of our intention to leave is a sensible approach.
“It is also very important that we fully examine how national collective bargaining will continue to provide benefits to West Lothian in the future.”