Scottish councils face enormous funding challenges this year and beyond, with real fears for the impact on vital services.
This briefing looks at the Scottish Government’s 2023-24 Budget provisional funding allocations to councils and the context in which differing claims are made about funding; e.g. the Scottish Government says funds to councils are up by more than £570m, with COSLA insisting the cash increase is £38m due to previous policy commitments on areas including free school meals, early years and childcare.
Details of the provisional revenue funding allocations to councils are on page 2.
UNISON has continually warned over many years about the devastating impact of austerity and cuts to council budgets and the threat to democratic accountability. But under the Tory Government at Westminster and the SNP/Green Government here, local government is under pressure as never before, with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) warning last week in a leaked document of potentially 7,000 job losses over the next three years. This is consistent with the Scottish Government’s June 2022 ‘Resource Spending Review: Plans to 2027’ which suggested reducing the public sector workforce by 30,000. UNISON is fighting to protect jobs and services and campaigning against the threat to local government from proposals in the National Care Service Bill, including up to 75,000 council staff at risk of TUPE transfer, and the end of publicly run and delivered democratically accountable social services.