NHS Scotland "cannot solve Scotland's health issues on its own", a councils leader says in a plea for more Scottish Government cash.

Councillor Graham Houston, vice president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) makes that claim today as the 32-member body makes a fresh bid for additional Holyrood cash.

The organisation, which represents every one of the country's councils, is seeking around £12 billion of funding from Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes when she unveils her national Budget on December 9.

Local government received £11bn in 2021-22 but Cosla says core funding for day-to-day services "is not keeping pace with demand and other pressures" like the rising costs of energy, labour and supplies and at least £11.7bn is now needed to "stand still" – rising to £12.6bn if regions are to "thrive".

The Scottish Government says this year's Budget will be "challenging" as Scotland "continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic without any Covid-19 funding from the UK Government"and that local government's share is "subject to the outcome of the on-going negotiations with Cosla"

No details on that are expected to be released to the public before Budget day.

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But Cosla continues to impose pressure on the Scottish Government, claiming that "without adequate funding for local government there is a very real prospect this winter and beyond that the NHS will not have the capacity to cope, waiting lists will increase and more government targets will be missed".

Last week Cosla leaders launching their 'Live Well Locally' campaign told journalists it would not compete with health for cash, but that further funding is needed for early intervention work on alcohol, drugs and child wellbeing.

Today Houston, SNP councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan on Stirling Council, states: "Simply pouring further resource into health is in itself not the answer.

"There is strong evidence, including from the World Health Organisation, that investment across the whole system is crucial in allowing communities to thrive.

"That is why, to enable people to ‘Live Well Locally’, this year’s Scottish Budget must clearly demonstrate a commitment to this whole system of health, and the vital preventative and early intervention services councils provide.

“The National Health Service in Scotland does a tremendous job but it cannot solve Scotland’s health issues on its own. Councils have a vital role to play – and that needs investment in councils by the Scottish Government.”

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Under the Scottish Government’s five-year capital spending review, local authorities are to receive £628 million in 2022-23 – up £11m on last year, with this money ring-fenced for flood risk management.  

Cosla says that’s a real terms cut of 6% since 2013-14 and other increases in intervening years have been largely ring-fenced for delivering ministerial commitments.

However, the Scottish Government says it has treated local government “very fairly” and put revenue funding up in cash terms by £1.3bn since 2013-14. A spokesperson said: "We recognise the unprecedented challenges health and social care services are experiencing and that is why we have announced a record £300 million of new investment in measures to help services deal with system pressures over winter."

Cosla president Councillor Alison Evison of Labour, who represents North Kincardine on Aberdeenshire Council, said: "Significant additional funding has gone into the NHS over recent years, yet health inequalities still exist and our communities are still seeing too many drug deaths.

"The NHS is having to deal with problems once they are too far gone and at the most expensive part of the process. Investing in local government would enable investment in more cost-effective prevention work."