AS Glasgow City Council awaits the latest allocation of cash, when the Finance Secretary sets his budget for the next year, the local government body body Cosla has accused the Scottish Government of choosing to overlook funding for unprotected council services.

The delay to the UK Chancellor’s budget until March 11 has caused confusion with Scottish Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, unable to see the Chancellors plans before he sets his budget.

March 11 is also the day by which Glasgow and Scotland’s other councils have to set their own budget and announce council tax rates.

As Mr Mackay prepares his budget Cosla is calling for more cash for services as more of the money local authorities receive is accounted for by national polices, meaning cuts to unprotected services.

In a plea for more cash in this year’s Scottish budget, the organisation has warned increased ring-fencing means damage from cuts has been “amplified”.

Cosla said 60% of its funding must go towards specific schemes, leaving services such as public transport, sports facilities and environmental health at greater risk from cuts.

Cosla’s resource spokeswoman Gail Macgregor said: “Cosla’s vision is that Scotland’s communities are sustainable, vibrant places to live, work and visit.

“Every year, councils invest in a huge range of services and capital projects that are key drivers for economic growth.

“However, ring-fencing and Scottish Government-devised policy initiatives mean that more and more has to be delivered from an ever-decreasing portion of local budgets.

“The reality is that services such as roads, buses, paths, planning, community learning, events, sports facilities, libraries, tourism, business support and environmental health all sit unprotected.”

She added: “These services are what make our communities attractive places to live, work and visit.

“Local government’s role in creating sustainable communities cannot continue to be underestimated.”

In a brochure produced by Cosla for its Invest in Essential Services campaign, it cites research showing overall local government funding has dropped by 7% since 2013-14, compared to the 2% reduction in Scottish Government’s total revenue funding.

Local government currently receives a 33% share of the Scottish budget, down from 34.7% in 2013-14, it adds.

Cosla president Alison Evison said: “Local government is the sphere of government closest to Scotland’s citizens.

“Sadly, however, whichever way you want to dress it up, the reality is that in recent budgets the Scottish Government has chosen to overlook the essential services that communities rely on day in, day out.

“Our vision for Scotland’s communities depends on fair funding for council services.

“If we are to truly realise Scotland’s potential then local authorities must receive a fair settlement.”