Cosla chief calls for ‘appropriate level’ of funding for Scottish local authorities

A lack of cash is preventing councils from “solving some of the problems facing our communities”, the president of local authorities body Cosla has said.

Alison Evison (pictured) said local government has “the vision… and the will” to take action, but needs “the appropriate level of resource”.

She said councils across Scotland have delivered vital services in “exceptional circumstances as we battled a pandemic that has shaken our society and economy to the core”.

Speaking at a Cosla mini-conference, Ms Evison added: “Post pandemic, just like post-Second World War, communities need recovery and renewal.

“And local government remains in the same position in terms of delivering the essential services to our communities that are central to that recovery.

“All that is preventing us from solving some of the problems facing our communities today are the powers and the appropriate level of resource to do so. We have the vision, the people and the will.”

Her speech highlighted the similarities between the post-war UK of 1945 and the country now, as leaders look to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “There is no escaping the fact that 2020 and the arrival of Covid have shone a new light on the reality of what local government does with, and on behalf of, our communities every day.

“Throughout difficult times in the past, local government was there, standing tall for communities.

“And today – pre-Covid, during Covid and post-Covid – local government has and will perform.”

She said councils have been a “key anchor for our communities” during the pandemic, adding: “Local government supported those at the highest risk of the virus and needed to shield, provided thousands of free school meals, awarded over a £1 billion worth of business grants, supported thousands of people to get online.”

She insisted councils are “uniquely placed as the only sphere of government or part of the public sector that can knit together our entire social fabric”.

Ms Evison added: “As politicians that is what we are elected to do and all of us together with our officers are committed to doing exactly that.”

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