THE Scottish Government must deliver greater investment in local government workforce if it is to deliver on its priorities, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has said.

In their response to the Scottish Government’s Spending Review Framework Consultation, Cosla argued the value of the local government workforce in Scotland would be maximised by ensuring staff are “appropriately paid, skilled, supported and recognised for the critical roles they do.”

This workforce, Cosla emphasised, includes many who undertake front-line roles such as cleaning, catering and refuse collection, and that while Cosla is a Living Wage employer, “the burden of austerity has fallen most heavily on those doing vital, but less well paid, roles such as these".

“This is coupled with the continued downward pressure on core budgets restricting the pay awards that can be granted. This is unacceptable and leads to poorer social and economic outcomes.”

Cosla’s submission also highlighted that local government in Scotland has “borne the brunt” of funding pressure for more than a decade, arguing that this gap cannot continue to be met by efforts towards efficiency.

The consultation will inform how the Scottish Government assigns resources to its priorities on child poverty, climate change, and securing a stronger, fairer, greener economy.

Sustainable long-term investment in local government is, council leaders said, “essential” to these three priorities. 

Responding, a Scottish Government spokesperson told The National: “Despite a real-terms cut in the Scottish Budget in 2022-23 of 5.2%, local government funding has gone up by almost £1.1 billion or 6.3% in real terms. 

“The Scottish Government welcomes Cosla’s response to the Resource Spending Review consultation and will closely study the detail, whilst continuing to engage directly with Cosla throughout the process.

“The Economy Secretary has committed to providing greater certainty and high-level spending plans to partners and stakeholders through the Review, which the Scottish Government aims to publish later this year. The detail of the Review is still being worked through.”