Scotland’s councils are not being given enough cash to help tackle key areas such as climate change and child poverty, local authority leaders have warned.
Cosla, the organisation that represents the country’s 32 councils, also expressed fears services and communities will suffer as a result of what it claims is a £95 million cut to local government.
While the draft budget for 2020-21 includes an additional £495 million for local authorities for day-to-day spending, Cosla claims Scottish ministers have required them to carry out a further £590 million worth of policy commitments.
Similarly, Cosla leaders claim the £54 million of new capital funding in the budget has been negated by £171 million worth of Scottish Government commitments.
Resources spokeswoman Gail Macgregor said the funding settlement, as it stands, would impact on jobs and front-line services.
Speaking ahead of appearing at Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee on Wednesday, she said: “This draft budget will impact on jobs, front-line services and local government’s ability to address inclusive economic growth, child poverty, well-being and climate change, and does not address the growing demand most councils are facing in relation to services.”
She said Cosla had “campaigned hard in recent months for the Scottish Government to address falling local government budgets”, saying it had lobbied ministers on this.
She added: “It is unfortunate that a sphere of government in this country has not been listened to.”
Cosla president Alison Evison said local authorities had already lost the equivalent of 10,000 full-time workers since 2010-11.
She warned: “The impact of this on communities is real and cannot continue.
“We are calling on Scottish Government and the Parliament to address these concerns, listen to our asks and prevent the loss of essential council services which communities rely upon.
“Make no mistake, councils and the services which communities rely upon will be at risk as a result of this budget.”
Overall, councils will receive £11.3 billion next year under the current budget proposals, with local authorities also having the option of raising addition cash by increasing council tax.
Speaking at the time of the draft budget, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said it provided a “fair settlement” for local government.
She said: “Taken together with the flexibility to increase council tax, this local government settlement gives councils an increase of revenue spending of up to 4.3% in real terms to deliver local services.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said councils will receive £11.3 billion in funding from the Scottish Government in 2020-21.
“The latest figures show that local government has £1.4 billion held in reserve that can be used at their discretion to support local services,” she added.
“Investing in vital public services, ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and tackling drug-related deaths are at the heart of our spending plans.
“As well as providing a real-terms increase in the local government revenue budget, our spending plans include an additional £500 million low-carbon capital investment and an additional £12.7 million to reduce the harm caused by drugs.”