Scottish Government accused of 'quadrupling' council cuts

Figures released by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre have reviewed that the SNP has cut local government funding by 7.1 per cent since 2013-14, a figure almost four times higher than the Tory cuts to the Scottish budget over the same period.

The Nationalists have come under fire previously for expecting councils to make deep cuts to budgets, with critics accusing them of offloading the political responsibility for austerity onto local government.

Labour said the impact of this SNP austerity was felt in classrooms, social care and vital local services across Scotland.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Monica Lennon, said: "These findings prove that the SNP government has not only passed on Tory austerity to Scottish communities but have quadrupled it.

“Working people in both urban and rural Scotland are paying the price of the SNP government’s deliberate strategy to undermine local government and the services it delivers to our communities.

"Local councillors, irrespective of party association, are shown no respect by a government that cuts their resources and increasingly blames them for the consequences.

The cuts mean that on average, each Scottish council has £148 less to spend per person. Glasgow and Edinburgh have been disproportionately effected, with Glasgow having it’s funding cut by £233 per person, and the figure in Edinburgh standing at £226.

The worst cuts have been to the Western Isles, with the council facing a reduction in funding of £504 per person.

Labour group leader on Cosla, Cllr David Ross, said: "This independent report confirms the significant real terms cut in the local government’s funding from the Scottish Government over the past five years.

"This is the main reason the councils are faced with making cuts to services every year. If anything, the report understates the financial pressures on councils as it doesn’t take into account the rise in demand for services like social care.

“The report also highlights that local councils have taken a much greater cut in funding than the overall Scottish Government budget.

"The Scottish Government claim they are treating local government fairly, but this is yet another report that shows this isn’t the case and that local councils are being expected to take far more than their fair share of cuts.”

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