A report to a meeting of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities last week stated: 'Next year will represent the seventh year when councils have to meet the cost of pay awards with, in the main, no assistance from central government and at a cost of some£700m.
'This enormous volume of money has inevitably had an impact on the quality of services which councils are able to provide for their communities.'
Demanding more time for budget preparation, Fife Council's leader, Christine May, said Cosla had not been able to carry out its usual review of impending council tax figures because of the lateness of many of the changes being imposed on councils.
Craig Robertson, Cosla's finance spokesman, said: 'If in future we could have three-year planning and some assumption and knowledge about what we would be getting from the Scottish executive, then we'd all be on a level playing field, and there wouldn't be this capability of the press or even political parties of bouncing one authority off against another.'
- see LGCnet 29/2/00 'GOVERNMENT CONTROLS ON COUNCIL SPENDING TOO TIGHT, SAYS COSLA'