Scottish Government must adequately fund council services

UNISON, responding to Account Commission report: Local Government in Scotland Overview 2022, has called on the Scottish government to adequately fund council services and staff. The Account Commission says that council face a difficult and uncertain strategic context, longer-term financial pressures and a lack of certainty and flexibility over long-term funding. They also say that those most in need of support are being affected.

The Account Commission report confirms that funding for local government in Scotland has been reduced in real terms since 2013/14, while rest of the Scottish government budget has seen an increase in funding over the same period.

The Account Commission states that: “after additional Covid-19 funding is excluded, councils’ underlying cumulative funding has fallen by 4.2 per cent in real terms since 2013/14. This is in contrast to an increase of 4.3 per cent in Scottish government funding of other areas of the budget over the same period.”

The Account Commission also state that: “council services are facing high demand, high staff absence levels from new waves of the pandemic and staff burnout from the prolonged response and recovery phase. These impacts have been felt across the workforce but particularly so in front-line community-facing roles.”

Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government in Scotland said: “UNISON members tell us that the problems are particularly acute in education. School support staff have been under considerable pressure with less time to do additional needs and child protection reports, and they are experiencing more violence at work. Staff mental health and wellbeing has suffered.

We need to remember that this staff group worked throughout the pandemic providing childcare and education particularly for the children of key workers. Now COSLA and the Scottish government will not even offer a pay rise to help mitigate the extra cost-of-living costs.

Council services need investment and staff need better support and a decent pay rise across all council services. Newly elected council leaders need to have fighting for council serices and staff at the top of their inbox at their meeting on Friday.”

Full details are on the UNISON Scotland website


Leave a Reply