Making case for boosting Council powers to aid Covid recovery

Iain Gray MSP and Scottish Labour have supported moves to ensure that councils will receive greater control on how local authority money is spent and more powers to run local services.

Councils across Scotland are struggling with a £550m budget black hole and have repeatedly asked the Scottish Government for greater support to enable essential services to continue.

Speaking after the debate, Iain Gray MSP said:

“The Scottish Government has presided over a decade of chronic underfunding for our local councils, refusing to pass on the funding they have received for this, and leading to £937m of cuts to non-core funding.

“This has had a direct effect on the ability of councils, including East Lothian, to continue providing essential services, and to protect public sector jobs, creating a financial crisis which has been made worse by the pandemic.

“Yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, I argued that a strong, sustainable and fair economic recovery will only be possible with well-resourced local government and they will be central to growing local economies through job creation, investment, regeneration and reducing inequality.

“If the SNP is truly committed to improving key infrastructure, it must provide councils with the financial levers to do so, to invest in housing and schools, and start to build back better for our communities.”

Mr Gray’s full speech can be viewed at www.facebook.com/iaingrayeastlothian/videos/693789497961928