The body representing Scotland’s local authorities has joined with council bodies from across the UK to call for more funding from the Chancellor ahead of the spring Budget next week.

In a move likely to deepen tensions between councils and the Scottish Government, Cosla has written to Jeremy Hunt urging him to review the Budget and provide “sufficient investment to local government”.

Scottish ministers are also waiting to see what the plans could hold for Scotland in terms of more funding through Barnett consequentials.

In the letter, seen by the PA news agency, Shona Morrison, the president of Cosla, joined with the heads of the local government associations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to call for more funding.

They wrote: “It is vital that all councils have sufficient revenue and capital funding to set balanced budgets for 2024/25 and have the assurance to develop sustainable medium-term financial strategies.

“We urge you to consider what impact the UK spring Budget will have on local government as the sector urgently needs additional UK financial support to ensure viability.

“Councils aim to deliver sustainable public services and would like to have the funding flexibility to prioritise preventive services to address existing and future demand.

“Without additional support, there will be inevitable cuts to essential services provided by the four nations which could have a detrimental impact on sustained efforts to mitigate against poverty and homelessness.

“Investment in councils will ensure a more efficient delivery of key government policy agendas and should be considered as a valuable asset as we collectively aim to improve outcomes for our communities.”

The most recent autumn statement, the letter said, did not sufficiently account for the “increased costs and challenges facing councils”.

“As a result, statutory services are having to be prioritised, meaning disproportionate cuts are being made to preventative services areas such as leisure, culture and cost-of-living supports which mitigate against the development of negative mental health, well-being and poverty.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove
The letter also comes after reports emerged of two Scottish Labour-run councils appealing to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove for further funding (Lucy North/PA)

“Councils are also faced with increasingly unsustainable workforce challenges with recruitment and retention issues impacting on the services we can provide.”

In recent months, Humza Yousaf’s administration and local councils have been at loggerheads after the First Minister announced a council tax freeze would be imposed without consultation in his first speech to the SNP conference as leader.

The ongoing wound was reopened last week when Argyll and Bute Council refused to freeze the levy, announcing it would increase by 10% this year, drawing the ire of Deputy First Minister Shona Robison and ensuring they would not receive a share of an additional £62.7 million in funding.

The letter also comes after reports emerged of two Scottish Labour-run councils appealing to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove for further funding.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the importance of local authorities in providing vital public services across Scotland.

“That is why, in the face of a profoundly challenging financial situation, the Scottish Government is making available record funding of more than £14 billion to councils in 2024/25.

“However, our spending decisions remain tied to those of the UK Government which is why, in line with Scottish local authorities, we are calling on the Chancellor to use the Spring Budget to deliver a fair settlement for Scotland.”