Western Isles council and other local authorities are calling for full funding to support growth to services

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Scotland’s local authorities are calling for ‘full and transparent’ funding in December’s Scottish budget for new Government service commitments.

COSLA, which represents Scotland’s local authorities, issued the call in a new briefing document ahead of the budget, and highlighted the costs of expansions announced by the government in early learning and childcare services, the extension of free personal care for the Under 65s, and the appointment of new school counsellors and school nurses.

Responding to concerns over the pressure the news services could place on its budgets, a spokesperson for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “The Comhairle has provided for inflation in its budget estimates, and this is part of the reason why service redesign is needed.

“The Comhairle has not made any specific provision for growth, for example from an aging population, except where it is funded by the Scottish Government, for example in the expansion of early years education.

“In addition to the financial pressures to redesign services in order to maintain and protect them in an era of reducing central funding, we see the Service Redesign process as a real opportunity for increased partnership and collaborative working between the Comhairle and the communities it serves.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government commented: “Despite continued UK Government cuts to Scotland’s resource budget, we have treated local government very fairly.

“In 2018-19, councils will receive funding through the local government finance settlement of £10.7 billion. This will provide a boost in both revenue and capital funding for public services.

“The Finance Secretary will continue engaging with COSLA on future local government settlements to ensure fair levels of investment are provided. Eilean Siar will receive £104.1 million in funding from the Scottish Government in 2018-19. Together with the decision to increase council tax by 3% will mean an extra £1.4 million to support day to day services, compared to 2017-18.”