A report published today by local government body COSLA has stated that local government in Scotland will require £1bn of investment from the Scottish Government in order to protect vital and essential services.

COSLA stated that this investment must be contained in the forthcoming Scottish budget produced by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and reach councils “before it is too late”.

Local Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie said:

“It is absolutely vital that local authorities like West Dunbartonshire & Argyll and Bute are fully equipped to deliver essential services to the community and able to protect schools, care for the elderly, libraries and sports facilities from government cuts.

The SNP government has taken Tory austerity, turbo-charged it, and passed it on to Scotland’s councils. Years of challenging budgets have seen West Dunbartonshire receive £117 per head less and Argyll and Bute Council receive £299 per head less in their local government settlement, since 2013. As a result both councils have had less money to pay for vital services.

Communities in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute have been left suffering, and like other local authorities across are struggling to deliver lifeline services. Instead of receiving help from the SNP they have been forced to make more and deeper cuts to services due to government cuts each year.

This report should serve as a wake up call to the SNP and Finance Secretary Derek McKay, its time they listen to what COSLA, Councils, Trade Unions and the public are telling them. It’s time to end cuts to local authorities, provide councils like West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute with the funding they need.

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