Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Cosla warns of bankruptcy ‘risk’ in funding plea ahead of Scottish Budget

Cosla has issued stark warning about the state of local council funding (PA)
Cosla has issued stark warning about the state of local council funding (PA)

Council leaders in Scotland have warned there is a risk of bankruptcy for local authorities if funding provided by the Scottish Government is not improved.

Local government body Cosla made the comment after Birmingham and Nottingham city councils effectively declared themselves bankrupt.

Both authorities have issued Section 114 notices, which prevent spending on virtually everything apart from statutory services.

In a briefing paper published ahead of the Scottish Budget on December 19, Cosla said: “There is a risk this becomes the reality for Scottish councils if the funding by Scottish Government does not match growing cost pressures.”

Cosla resources spokeswoman Katie Hagmann warned without improvements in council funding, “tough choices” could mean essential services they provide “will cease”.

To deal with the impact of inflation and the council tax freeze – announced by First Minister Humza Yousaf without first informing local authority leaders – Cosla said councils need almost £14.4 billion in the 2024-25 budget to “stand still”.

No details have emerged on how much money local authorities will get to compensate for the council tax freeze, but the Scottish Government has insisted the policy will be fully funded.

Cosla said: “Last year, councils faced a £1 billion funding gap just to keep services going.

“This year there have been increased costs and greater demand on services, meaning councils have had to prioritise spend, away from libraries, community and leisure centres.”

Ms Hagmann added: “Sadly, our reality right now is an extremely challenging financial climate coupled with years of real-terms cuts to council budgets, while additional policy commitments are continually being introduced.

“If this situation doesn’t start to improve soon, it will mean tough choices being made and the many essential services councils currently provide will cease – services that not only address problems on the ground, but actively prevent bigger issues occurring down the line.”

She said Cosla has been “clear that cutting frontline staff isn’t the answer” and without “adequate and sustainable funding” councils will not be able to help tackle poverty, support efforts towards net zero or provide “sustainable public services”.

Cosla insisted that every pound invested in local government “has the potential to generate savings elsewhere across the public sector, for example in health and criminal justice”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has announced council tax will be frozen next year (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Its president Shona Morrison said: “Councils really are the key to unlocking the best for our communities – from safe, quality housing, to clean streets, to supporting the most vulnerable people to thrive, to education and social care.

“The importance of these services cannot be emphasised enough, but they need to be funded properly.”

With councils having “no choice but to protect core statutory services”, Ms Morrison said the “unprecedented financial challenges we are all experiencing” mean there are “risks to many other local services our communities rely on, such as programmes supporting children and young people, sports and leisure facilities and public transport”.

She added: “The campaign we are launching today clearly illustrates not only the challenges our councils are facing, but the great potential they have if funded properly.

“We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government and other partners to get the best deal for our councils and our local communities.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland is facing the most challenging budget settlement since devolution as a result of sustained high inflation and a UK Government autumn statement that failed to deliver the investment needed in Scotland’s public services.

“The Scottish Government has increased the resources available to local government in 2023-24 by more than £793 million, a real-terms increase of £376 million or 3%, compared to the 2022-23 Budget figures.

“Work is also ongoing with Cosla to establish a new fiscal framework for councils through the Verity House Agreement, a landmark agreement that is forging a stronger partnership between the Scottish Government and local councils through the spirit of collaboration and engagement.

“Decisions on local government budget allocations for future years are subject to the outcome of negotiations with Cosla, the results of which will be confirmed in future Scottish budgets.”