Break-away council 'considering rejoining Cosla'

South Lanarkshire Council could rejoin Cosla - the body it left last year to form a breakaway local government lobbying group.

After resigning from Cosla, South Lanarkshire joined Glasgow, Aberdeen and Renfrewshire councils in forming the Scottish Local Government Partnership (SGLP), saying the existing structures for representing local government had failed.

But a joint statement from council leader Cllr Eddie McAvoy and Cosla president Cllr David O'Neill said the two had met to discuss recent changes to Cosla. Any decision on rejoining the body will not be made until after next year's local government elections.

"When South Lanarkshire left Cosla, we made it clear that we believed changes were necessary," Cllr McAvoy said.

"Since then we have worked well with our colleagues in the SLGP and we have made significant progress in ensuring that the voice of local government is heard, especially with regard to how government policies impact on our residents.

"However, at the meeting I told Councillor O'Neill that if these changes to Cosla are progressed there may be merit in the council reconsidering its membership of Cosla, but that this would be a decision for the council following the election."

Cllr O'Neill said: "Tackling inequality has always been my real political passion and this remains the case. 

"However, now more than ever I believe that if we are to tackle the scourge of inequality that blights Scotland then we as local government stand a better chance of doing so with 32 councils as opposed to 28."

The SGLP recently called for Scottish councils to have tax-raising powers, including control of business rates, a new tourism tax and air passenger duty, in order to mitigate the impact of £1bn in cuts expected by the end of the decade.