The Scottish Government must ensure that Scotland’s councils are financially supported to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, Scottish Labour has said today.

The party says that as much as £898.8m has been cut from non-ringfenced local authority revenue budgets in real terms since 2013/2014. It demands that The Scottish Government acts swiftly to ensure that essential services are protected and that much needed housing is delivered.

Sarah Boyack MSP

Following today’s Local Government Committee, Scottish Labour local government spokesperson, Sarah Boyack, said: “It is all too clear that over a decade of chronic underfunding of Scotland’s councils has left them ill-equipped to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

“Over a decade of SNP austerity has left Scotland’s councils cut to the bone. The scale of the crisis posed by the pandemic requires swift action from the government and a willingness to co-operate with COSLA to ensure that Scotland’s councils and the communities that they serve are defended.

“It is also clear that housing in Scotland is now in deep crisis. We have a huge waiting list for appropriate affordable housing and a high level of homelessness. As well as this we need to protect jobs in the construction industry and support the Scottish economy to get through the pandemic. The Scottish Government must commit new, affordable social housing.

“Local authorities are essential to people’s lives. For example, libraries provide people on low incomes access to online services they desperately need and community centres, sports and culture facilities do amazing work in improving health in deprived communities. Without a fair funding package from the government for Councils, across Scotland,  these crucial services are under threat of closure.”