The Accounts Commission’s 2022 Local Government Overview Report has underlined the scale of the challenges facing Scotland’s local councils as spiralling inflation and significant increases to the cost of living compound the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report highlights that the current position for councils and the communities they serve is ‘challenging and complex’ and identifies a range of issues they need to confront. These include dealing with increasing demand and service backlogs, long-standing pressures, including rising poverty and inequalities, high absence levels and acute skills shortages amongst some key front-line workers, a lack of certainty and flexibility over long-term funding and national priorities, including climate change and public sector reform.
Commenting on the report Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“Councils play a key role in tackling so many of the challenges we face and have performed remarkably well under very difficult and fast changing circumstances over the last couple of years. However, this report identifies the scale of the problems they face as we recover from Covid.
“Years of brutal cuts to funding by the SNP have left councils struggling to maintain vital services. In many areas, services have already been cut to the bone, leaving them vulnerable to the shocks of the pandemic, spiralling inflation and the cost of living crisis.
“Across the South of Scotland, Labour Councils and councillors are fighting to protect local services, support communities and do all they can to boost local economies. But they cannot do this alone. The Scottish Government must reverse years of cuts and underfunding and give councils and communities the support they need.”