Breakaway council group threatens legal action against Scottish Government
A group of four councils who broke away from local authority representative body Cosla have threatened to take the Scottish Government to court if ministers continue to freeze them out of funding talks.
At the moment Holyrood will only negotiate with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) on a final funding settlement for Scotland’s councils but Glasgow, Aberdeen, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire councils, which make up the Scottish Local Government Partnership (SLGP), are calling to be brought into negotiations.
The splinter group has issued an ultimatum that it has grounds for a judicial review and will take Holyrood to the Court of Session.
Frank McAveety, Glasgow City Council leader, said: “The four members of the SLGP generate 47 per cent of our country’s economic output which is why the First Minister’s refusal to negotiate with us simply cannot be allowed to continue.
“The government’s talks on the next funding settlement have already begun without us and in these we expect some of the biggest budget cuts ever seen.
“If she maintains her current plan to pass down these cuts to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire without one single meaningful conversation, she is effectively turning her back on 25 per cent of the population, including those in her own constituency.
“This is why we have sought independent legal advice and after careful consideration we have grounds to serve the First Minister and her government with a judicial review writ at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
“We have sent clear warning of our intention to pursue such action if Nicola Sturgeon does not back down on this matter.”
In a letter to Ms Sturgeon, SGLP convener, Aberdeen Council leader Jenny Laing, said: “The Scottish Government gathers more power from Westminster but will not even discuss with the partnership, which includes two of Scotland’s three biggest cities, the fundamental bread and butter issues which matter to the lives of ordinary people.”
A Scottish Government spokesman responded: “Scottish ministers will always talk to individual councils on matters that concern them.
“Indeed, ministers and officials have regular and extensive dialogue with a full range of stakeholders from local government as part of and alongside our formal partnership arrangements with Cosla.
“We will only negotiate on the final settlement with Cosla, the representative body for Scotland’s local authorities. However, we have a statutory responsibility to consult all 32 councils on the terms of the local government finance settlement.”