Economy and Infrastructure

19.02.18

Scottish councils demand money from government for future pay increases

Scottish councils have today asked for additional resources to pay for future public sector pay increases.

The government in Scotland last year pledged to lift the unpopular 1% cap on public sector wages, and today Cosla, the local government group in the country, has said that extra cash must be built into the core of future budgets to protect councils.

Following a budget deal with the Scottish Greens, pay rises will now apply to 75% of public sector staff and could costs councils across the region millions in extra wage bills.

“COSLA’s Resources spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor today stated:  “We acknowledge the additional resources secured into the settlement for this year following extensive lobbying by COSLA.

“However this will not negate all of the challenges we still face, the main one obviously relates to pay for our workforce, now that the Scottish Government has set out its Public Sector Pay Policy.

 “This additional resource has to become built into the core of our budgets for future years.”

 She also continued to say that the money could not be a “one-off payment”, but instead be a crucial part of budgets to ensure that essential services are sustained into the future.

“To deliver essential services to communities, we need to make sure that the additional resources secured this year are not given to us on a one off basis,” she added.

 “This year’s deal means Scotland’s councils are far from out of the woods and not cementing this funding into core budgets would be an extremely bad result for the delivery of essential services. 

“In addition, our local government workforce deserve to be treated fairly.  Without recurring funding this becomes all the more challenging. 

“Quite simply, with no money in the settlement from Scottish Government for pay, any pay rises for council workers can only come from cuts to services or council tax rises.”

When approached for comment by PSE, finance secretary Derek Mackay commented that the Scottish Government had treated local government "very fairly." 

"In 2018-19 councils will receive funding through the local government finance settlement of £10.7bn," he stated. 

“This will provide a cash terms increase in funding for local revenue services of over £174m – a 1.8% rise, and capital spending of £89.9m – an increase of 11.4%. This delivers a real terms boost in both revenue and capital funding.

“As well as this increased funding, councils have the flexibility to increase council tax by up to 3%. Taken together, this will mean that councils have access to an additional £251m that can be spent at their discretion, including on pay increases for their staff.”

Comments

Alan.S   20/02/2018 at 16:12

I do not see why Scottish Councils should be treated differently to the rest of the Councils in the UK. This article does not show any justification as to why Scottish Council workers need more funding than the rest of the country

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