local government finance.
And called on the Scottish executive to take action on the evidence being
Cosla has campaigned for a long time for a review of local government
finance and welcomes the local government committee's decision to undertake
an inquiry - something the executive refused to do.
Cosla's evidence, which is a product of detailed research and commitment
from all of Scottish local government and has been developed on a fully
inclusive basis, will show that the basic problem with the system is that
there is a lack of partnership and trust, not enough money to provide for
all the issues that need to be dealt with and the tax system that raises the
money is inadequate to raise enough cash.
Commenting on the evidence Cosla's newly elected finance spokesperson
John Pentland said: 'There is no doubt that change is needed and
our evidence cannot just sit on the shelf.
'The current system of local government finance erodes democracy. As each
year goes by, more and more of our funds are being prioritised nationally,
leaving us with less scope to maintain and improve the things that matter
locally, such as repairing holes in the road, dealing with litter and
improving leisure facilities.'
Cllr Pentland continued: 'We are also concerned about the growing
trend being used by the Scottish executive to get councils to bid against
each other for relatively small amounts of cash which will only go to a few.
This is divisive, time consuming and costly.
'We will be telling the committee that like most of the Scottish population
councils are also suffering from initiative fatigue brought on by the
'Our evidence will point out that the overall formula used at present to
decide how much cash each local authority receives is over complicated and
needs to be simplified.
'It needs to focus on what is important and that is the service received by
the public. This needs to be unfettered by central government bureaucracy.
'There is a lot of common ground and agreement between the Scottish
executive and local government on what needs to be done. But the bottom
line is that we simply do not get the cash to deliver for the people in our
areas that we are democratically elected to serve.'
Cllr Pentland concluded: 'We are concerned about announcements which
often relate to recycled monies rather than new money, the constant
bombardment of initiatives and of having to bid against each other for
relatively small amounts of money. There has to be more to local democracy
than scrimping, cost cutting and ticking off lists.
'Local authorities are best placed to know what their communities want and
how to deliver that. What matters is what works and the Scottish executive
must invest in and trust local government to deliver on priorities with an
adequate supply of funding.
'Partnership working and trust are key ingredients to bringing about change
and the time has come for action, not words, from the Scottish executive.'