Council leaders from across the political spectrum can at least agree on one thing – they're all skint. But how to tackle that is still up for debate, with some agreeing Unison's report offers a variety of good ideas and plausible solutions, while others insist many of the plans wouldn't work for them.

HANNAH RODGER speaks to four council leaders from across Scotland on how funding cuts have hit them and how they propose to fix them.

James Stockan, Orkney Council leader (Independent)

We are in the most challenging geography and we have the smallest corporate resource, so the pressure that comes through cuts affects us more sharply than they would elsewhere.

If you have departments of two people and you get a cut, what do you do? What's not come with the cuts is a reduction from the government in their expectations in what we deliver.

We have protected services using our reserves but now are at a completely unsustainable level. We have stripped down our corporate centre and we are finding it very difficult.

[In terms of roads] we can't cut any further back or else we have no reliance for winter snow clearing or any emergency.

To generate revenue, we have decided that if we can get a submarine cable to the mainland we would look at putting up our own windfarm to generate some energy and socialise the benefit of the wind we have in ample supply.

In terms of the suggestions made in the Unison report, Orkney doesn’t lend itself to many of these ideas. Some of the things which may work very well in the central belt are an even greater burden when they are rolled out to the rural areas.

David Ross, co-leader of Fife Council (Labour)

Local governments have taken the brunt of austerity cuts from Westminster and Holyrood.The current framework is broken. Effectively 80% of our funding is directly or indirectly controlled by central government ... we are not responsible for raising the money but we get all the blame for making the cuts.

We have had to shut 16 libraries to make the library service sustainable, we’ve had to reduce and close our recycling centres one or two days a week and restrict small business and commercial use of them.

Education is half of our budget, and although you want to protect it, if you don’t make savings there it has a disproportionate impact on other services. Fife is one of the few authorities which bucked the trend in closing the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils. I’m now worried that because of central government interference that trend will go the other way and we will lose all the gains we have made.

We had a £9m budget gap last year – we got half of that through the council tax rise and then made between £4.5m and £5m cuts, and this is just another layer on top of what we have already cut. Since 2010 we have taken savings of £219m out of our budget.

Susan Aitken, Glasgow City Council leader (SNP)

This is a useful report on the challenges facing Scotland in developing a sustainable and accountable funding model for local government.

It reminds us that Scotland already leads the UK in localising control of taxes and varying them in line with local needs and priorities. Using its limited powers, the Scottish Government has already made tax on earned income more progressive than in the rest of the UK. There is broad agreement that we should ensure all those who own property in Scotland contribute to our public services and infrastructure, however some solutions require further transfer of power from Westminster. With Brexit being used as a pretext for removing powers from the Scottish Parliament this seems unlikely.

The authors are clearly not fans of the Small Business Bonus Scheme, but this supports occupiers of nearly 11,000 commercial premises in Glasgow. This provides £70 million to the city economy and any change must protect our most vulnerable communities from losing jobs and services.

I welcome the agreement that the Scottish Government and Green Party MSPs will continue to work together on the issue of funding for local government. Labour’s decision to oppose local authorities having the power to introduce a Workforce Parking Levy is very disappointing.

Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council (Scottish Conservative)

As a local authority we have had to change considerably due to the real-terms budget cuts from Derek Mackay and his SNP Government. 58% of local government budgets go to providing statutory services, services that we must provide by law, meaning that non-statutory services bears the brunt of the cuts.

We have had to review these non-statutory services and are having to do more with less people.

This year we have had to introduce a charge for garden waste and increase council tax by 4.5%. These measures were unfortunate but the alternative would have caused devastating damage. Early intervention is key for Aberdeen and for Scotland. The Scottish Government need to recognise it is local authorities that provide much of the early intervention.

This year Aberdeen has seen an increase in non-domestic rates income of £28m, but did not benefit from this as the revenue grant was cut by the same £28m.

Local authorities need more autonomy to grow their economy and improve the lives of their residents. There needs to be a way to properly incentivise local authorities because at present any benefits of growth go directly to both governments.