Any further cut to council funding would have ‘severe consequences’ for transport across the country, Scottish local government leaders have warned.
Speaking ahead of the Scottish Government's draft Budget 2017-18 due later this month, Cllr Stephen Hagan, transport spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said further cuts on top of the £350m last year would ‘make it virtually impossible to maintain road quality into the future’.
He said: ‘The Scottish Government needs to realise that if as a result of their political choices the local government settlement is cut again next week – this will have severe consequences for roads, transport and travel across Scotland.’
Mr Hagan said authorities had worked hard to maintain local road quality in recent few years, despite having to reduce road budgets by around 14% from 2011/12 to 2014/15.
He added: ‘Less funding means councils are less able to respond to typical – let alone unusual – winter conditions in future. Scottish Government cannot control the weather but they can control how much money they give local government who have to keep vital services rolling no matter what the conditions are like.’
Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe said the council had recently moved its focus from a school building programme to the ‘priority area’ of roads investment.
He said: ‘Maintenance of the roads network is an essential service. It facilitates the movement of people to jobs, shops, leisure, health and education which underpins all economic activity across the country. The performance of our roads network directly influences all aspects of life from the safety of older people on our streets to travel time for commerce.
‘Failure to properly fund these services adequately will have an enormous impact on the daily lives of people across Scotland.’
Last month COSLA criticised reports that the Scottish Government was considering taking over responsibility for local roads as part of a major reorganisation of local government.