Accounts Commission report on local council funding is wake-up call for Scot Gov ahead of budget, says Wightman

A damning report from Council watchdog the Accounts Commission should be a wake-up call for the Scottish Government ahead of the forthcoming Scottish budget, according to Scottish Greens local government spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP.

The Commission’s annual financial overview for 2017/18 shows that councils have raided their reserves to fill funding gaps and concludes that the financial pressure they are under ‘shows no sign of easing.’

Scottish Greens have previously said that they won’t negotiate on the budget unless Derek Mackay first commits to meaningful progress on local tax reform. They are calling on the Finance Secretary to give councils new powers to raise more funds locally as well as setting a timescale for scrapping the regressive Council Tax.

Andy Wightman MSP commented:

“This report confirms what we’ve been telling Derek Mackay for years now – local government funding needs a complete overhaul if councils are going to meet rising demand for vital public services and pay the staff who deliver them fairly.

“We’ve done our best in recent years to reverse planned cuts but it’s clear now that services are at breaking point and it’s no longer acceptable for national government to keep tying the hands of local government.  Councils are united behind the Scottish Greens on this issue – Derek Mackay needs to show he’s listening and set out plans to give them more funding powers and a timescale for getting rid of the Council Tax.”