Council tax freeze leaves local authorities at ‘breaking point’


SCOTTISH councils have warned cuts are coming in “every community” following the Scottish Government’s decision to freeze council tax.

Shona Robison said a £144m package would be awarded to local authorities as compensation, but Cosla – the umbrella body for Scotland’s 32 council – say it will not fully fund the freeze.

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Cosla had previously warned that around £300m, more than double what has been promised, would be required to fully fund the freeze.

“Cosla’s initial analysis shows a real-terms cut to our revenue and capital spending power, which will leave council services at breaking point, with some having to stop altogether,” according to President of Cosla, Shona Morrison.

“The budget in its current form could result in service cuts, job losses and an inevitable shift to providing statutory services only.

“This means potentially losing libraries, leisure centres and all the things that improve our lives.

“Cosla’s initial analysis of the budget is that the council tax freeze is not fully funded.

“Leaders from across Scotland agreed today that decisions on council tax can only be made by each full council, and it is for each individual council to determine their own level of council tax.

“With any sort of shortfall in core funding, the £144m revenue offered for the freeze is immediately worth less.”

Continuing, Katie Hagmann, the spokeswoman for Cosla resources, said: “As it stands, this is not a good budget for our communities or the people who deliver our essential frontline services.

“This is a budget which will mean job losses — real jobs that support families and deliver vital services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“Sadly, the budget as it stands leaves nothing for meaningful pay rises in 24/25 so we would call on the Scottish government to look again, so that our workforce can get the pay rise they deserve next year.”

Scotland’s finance secretary said: “The Scottish budget includes record funding of over £14 billion for councils in 2024-25 — a real-terms increase of 4.3 per cent compared with this year’s budget — should they agree to freeze council tax.

“This represents an increase to local authorities’ overall share of the budget, in recognition of the crucial role they play to Scotland’s communities.

“The Scottish government is happy to meet with Cosla to discuss their concerns.”

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