EFFORTS to tackle Scotland’s rising drug deaths and deal with the ongoing climate emergency will be compromised by a £212 million shortfall in local government funding, council bosses have said.

They warned hundreds of jobs risk being lost at individual councils, with many authorities facing “tough decisions” over cuts, closures and reduced services.

The claims are contained in written evidence to Holyrood’s Local Government Committee, jointly submitted by council finance directors, council umbrella body Cosla and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace).

It came as Police Scotland also sounded the alarm over funding, insisting it will not have the cash to buy body cameras and smartphones for frontline officers.

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, highlighted the "shabby state of many of our ageing police stations", adding: "I can think of no other public service buildings that I have visited that are as poorly maintained as police stations.

"Even what should be the jewel in Police Scotland’s crown, Tulliallan Castle and the Scottish Police College into which our headquarters has been shoe-horned, is now showing great wear and tear that is frankly embarrassing for an organisation of our size."

The mounting concerns follow the publication of the £40 billion draft Scottish Budget earlier this month. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who was appointed to the role yesterday after her predecessor Derek Mackay resigned in disgrace over texts to a 16-year-old schoolboy, faces tense negotiations over the spending blueprint.

Councils said the current cash shortfall meant there would be “significant difficulties in addressing recommendations” from the Drug Deaths Task Force, which was established last year.

They warned they would also struggle to implement recommendations in the recent Independent Care Review, which called for a “radical overhaul” of existing structures.

Meanwhile, actions to meet environmental commitments ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November will be “compromised”, with councils forced to continue using ageing, high-emission vehicles.

Cosla, Solace and the directors of finance said the Budget plans left a shortfall of £95m for day-to-day council spending.

Meanwhile, the capital budget for local government – which covers spending in areas such as infrastructure, buildings and new vehicles – has been cut by 17 per cent compared to last year, they said, leading to a £117m shortfall.

They insisted these reductions would hit the ability of councils to address climate change, support the vulnerable and tackle child poverty, with holiday lunch clubs at risk of being scrapped.

There would also be “risks to the delivery” of an expansion of free childcare.

Their written evidence said local authorities have made more than £2.1 billion of savings since 2012, while workforces have shrunk by more than 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs since 2010/11.

The document continued: “Many councils have already started to articulate the scale of further job losses that this year’s cut will bring – losses for some individual council areas will be in the hundreds, and the cracks will show quickly within communities.”

It said the Scottish Government has previously intervened when job losses on a similar scale have been threatened elsewhere, such as at the Ferguson Marine shipyard.

Cosla urged ministers and MSPs to reconsider the Budget plans.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, who has helped the minority SNP administration pass its last three Budgets, said councils “are being placed in an impossible position, and are forced to contemplate substantial cuts in core services such as additional support for learning and social care”.

He said: “Green colleagues in local government have told me they have serious concerns that councils will be placed in breach of their legal duties as a result of these choices.

"Whatever ministers say, funds provided to councils to meet new commitments they’ve imposed won’t fix the underlying pressures local government has to run its own affairs.

"The Scottish Greens have prevented the SNP’s proposed cuts to local government settlement through Budget talks in previous years, and we call on Kate Forbes to reverse these cuts this year too.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Investing in vital public services, ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and tackling drug-related deaths are at the heart of our spending plans.

"As well as providing a real terms increase in the local government revenue budget, our spending plans include an additional £500m low-carbon capital investment and an additional £12.7m to reduce the harm caused by drugs.

“Local authorities will receive total funding from the Scottish Government of £11.3 billion in 2020-21. Taken together with the flexibility to increase council tax, our local government settlement gives councils an increase of revenue spending of up to 4.3% in real terms to deliver local services.”