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'COUNCILS' SHARE OF PUBLIC PURSE CONTINUES TO FALL'

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Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters said that it was outrageous and an affront to local ...
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters said that it was outrageous and an affront to local democracy that local government's share of the public sector purse in Scotland had fallen to an all time low of 26 per cent whilst unelected and unaccountable quangos share had risen to 40 per cent with the remainder going to the health service.

Mr Watters said: 'I think it says a lot about the Executive's priorities that local government's share of the public sector purse in Scotland is at an all time low of 26 per cent whilst unelected and unaccountable quangos share has risen to 40 per cent. This is not an accident it is a deliberate decision being taken by the Executive.

'In hard cash terms this equates to a£4.5bn increase since 2002/03 - imagine what that could do for frontline service delivery in the communities local councils represent.

'We in local government have no problem with money going to health. Indeed in terms of political prioritisation I can see the rationale for, on some occasions, more money being ploughed into health at the expense of other areas - but the same cannot be said for the millions that are poured into our quangos, our unelected drain on resources.

'Scotland's councils are the primary public service deliverer in Scotland with 75% of the Executive's priorities being our responsibility for delivering on the ground.

'According to research from Strathclyde University, 14 of the top 16 drivers of quality of life are delivered by local government.

'These include crime prevention, education, improving the environment, health improvement care services and leisure services. In fact almost every person in Scotland will use a council service every day often without realising it.

Mr Watters concluded: 'We also care for the most vulnerable in society, many of our services exist to provide a safety net for those in danger of exclusion.

'For all of the above reasons outlined above I think the fact that we are now seeing quangos so much more of a financial priority for the Executive than local government is outrageous and an affront to local democracy.'

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