Frank discussions are needed with local communities about the future of council services. Difficult decisions will need to be made. While councils received more money in total (from the Scottish Government, Council Tax and other sources) in 2022/23 than in the previous year, councils had less money to spend in real terms.
Councils received more funding from the Scottish Government in real terms in both 2022/23 and 2023/24 but some of that is directed towards certain policies. And increasing demand for services, inflation and the cost of living crisis means that the financial outlook for councils is extremely challenging.
Councils will have to make difficult decisions about cuts to services and how services are delivered.
Our bulletin looks at the money councils received in 2022/23, current funding for 2023/24 and what this means for the future.Read the full report here
Source: Scottish Budget 2023/24, Annex D: Outturn Comparison 2013/14 to 2021/22 and Scottish Budget 2024/25, Annex H: Outturn Comparison 2014/15 to 2022/23
Challenging to deliver all existing services with money available
Changes in our population, inflation and the increased cost of living mean more demand for services, but with less money
Increasing amounts of money given to councils has to be spent on specific services and policies
There’s less money to spend improving things like roads, libraries and schools
Given the funding position for councils, there is increasing reliance on reserves and savings to deliver balanced budgets. This means councils are already making difficult decisions about future service delivery and the level of service they can afford.Ronnie Hinds Interim Chair of the Accounts Commission