Warning some council services could be 'stopped completely amid £1bn budget cuts'

Cosla warns council services could be 'stopped' amid massive budget cuts
Cosla warns council services could be 'stopped' amid massive budget cuts

Some council services are at risk of being stopped completely, it has been warned, as the latest budget cuts threaten to lead to thousands of job losses.

Cosla, the body that represents councils, said unless more money is found important work to protect the most vulnerable people in communities is at serious risk.

In Glasgow, the council estimates it will have a budget shortfall of £120m when it sets its budget for the next year.

The Scottish Government sets its budget in under two weeks’ time and local government is arguing it cannot take any more cuts, warning of a collapse of vital services.

Cosla has launched its Save Our Services campaign and warned of the stark consequences of a failure to protect council funding.

It says under the current published Scottish Government plans, local government is to get a “flat cash settlement” which it says means “councils will get the same amount of cash next year as they got this year, to deliver services which cost more".

It warns: “This will result in services either being reduced or stopped. This means less support for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Everyone will start to feel and see the difference - reduced services and support as well as poorer living environments."

In Glasgow, the £120m shortfall could see thousands of council jobs lost or facilities closed and services lost.

Across Scotland, Cosla said: "These pressures result in an estimated funding gap of at least £1bn going into 2023/24 unless more cash is provided for councils."

Cosla's president, councillor Shona Morrison, said: “There are many areas in which local and Scottish Government work together for our communities and I fully appreciate that money is extremely tight. All Governments are having to cope with rising inflation and fuel costs.

“However, with little room left to manoeuvre, the Scottish Government’s spending plans as they stand will see council services either significantly reduced, cut or stopped altogether.”

She added that: “Seventy per cent of local government’s budget is spent on staffing, so it is inevitable that current spending plans will lead to job losses.

“The very serious impact of this scenario is that the critical work council staff do on prevention and early intervention will reduce significantly.”

The settlement last year was £12bn with some add-ons throughout the year.

Cosla has warned of potentially dire consequences where cuts will affect the core functions of councils.

It said: “Councils will struggle to maintain even statutory services – schools, nursery provision, planning, care, roads, libraries, sports facilities, waste collection, street cleaning and basic maintenance.”