A former Lord Provost is calling for a ‘Team Glasgow’ approach to push both governments for a fairer funding deal for Scotland’s largest city.

Labour Councillor Philip Braat says at a time when the city is facing its biggest budget gap in a single year of £120million both Holyrood and Westminster need to work together for the people of Glasgow.
He is raising the financial plight in a motion which will go before Glasgow’s full council on Thursday. And it added local authorities should have ‘ad hoc’ revenue raising powers.

HeraldScotland: Councillor Philip Braat is fighting for a fairer deal for the cityCouncillor Philip Braat is fighting for a fairer deal for the city (Image: Newsquest)
Last month it was revealed that unless there is more cash allocated from the Scottish Government, the council is projecting a shortfall of almost £120m for 2023/24. Councillors were told of the dire financial situation, which is a deficit ten times higher than last year.
Inflation is the main reason accounting for £87m of the deficit with pay inflation accounting for most of that.
Cllr Braat said: “Glasgow has already found savings of in excess of £300million since 2013/14 and has seen a reduction of thousands of staff during that period as well, leaving certain frontline services understaffed. The current budget pressures will take those savings to over £400million in less than a decade. Whether it is bin collections, pothole repairs, or care needs assessments, we have seen the significant impact of those savings already in our communities.
“On top of that, the Scottish Government is keen on making announcements that are actually committing Local Government to do things, but then do not stump up all the cash needed to fulfil those commitments, yet expect us to plug the gap out of our discretionary spending.”

HeraldScotland: Bin strikes hit Glasgow earlier this yearBin strikes hit Glasgow earlier this year (Image: Newsquest)
The council is being asked to support the motion which adds: “This situation is unsustainable; it is to the direct detriment of the services that our citizens rely on; and continues to place extraordinary pressure on all staff across the council who continue to strive to deliver for the citizens they serve.”
Cllr Braat highlights that the only locally set tax, Council Tax, accounts for just 18 per cent of the council’s budget, with the motion concluding that the onus for meeting the larger part of the 2023/24, and subsequent years, deficit falls to the Scottish and UK Governments working together. 
The council is urged to note that neither Government operates a fixed budget, and that each has - to varying degrees - the flexibility to increase the resources available to them through taxation.
Cllr Braat added: “The council must speak with one voice in demanding a fairer funding settlement from both governments and in advocating for the further redistribution of wealth to support and protect vital front-line services.”
The motion urges the council to take the view that investments in Local Government reduce reactive spending elsewhere in the public sector, and that this must be recognised in the Scottish Government’s budget.
Cllr Braat added: “Local Government is not some delivery agent for the SNP in Holyrood. We are supposed to be an equal partner, accountable to our constituents to deliver services that our communities need. Councillors are elected  on exactly the same basis as MSPs and the Scottish Government.”
The motion urges the council to write to both the Prime Minister and First Minister along with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance in these terms.
Last month Martin Booth, the council’s finance director, prepared the report detailing the budget implications and the figure of £119.4m
The council said the budget assumes that next year’s pay settlement will be no lower than this year’s.
Adding the future implications of this year’s higher than expected settlement and deducting additional Scottish Government funding means that pay inflation is expected to be £80.1 million.

HeraldScotland: Equal pay demonstrations were held in GlasgowEqual pay demonstrations were held in Glasgow
Just days later Glasgow City Council reached a £770 million agreement to settle outstanding claims in an equal pay dispute. 
The local authority has had to “sell and leaseback” a range of its buildings, including the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the City Chambers, in order to afford the compensation. 
It means payments will now be made to a total of 19,000 current and former employees to cover the “gap period” between the first agreement in 2018 and the implementation of the new pay and grading system.
The local authority paid out £505m to 13,000 in 2019 to end a legal challenge over the unfair pay grade system which saw some male workers paid more than women in equivalent roles. However, that only covered the period up to 2018.
Taking the compensation above £700m will settle the remaining liability and outstanding claims relating to employees represented by Action 4 Equality Scotland, GMB, Unison and Unite.
Councillors will be asked to back Cllr Braat's motion at the last full council meeting of 2022 on Thursday.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is treating councils fairly and providing a real terms increase of 6.3 per cent to local authority budgets this year. Scotland’s settlements from the UK Government have suffered a decade of austerity, with average real terms cuts of over 5 per cent equating to a loss of £18 billion. Despite this, local authority revenue funding is £2.2 billion or 22.9 per cent higher in cash terms in 2022-23 than it was in 2013-14.

“Future spending decisions will be outlined as part of the 2023-24 Scottish Budget on 15 December and we will liaise closely with local government throughout the budgetary process.”

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