All Things Scotland – New cost of living hub and other important council updates

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Welcome to All Things Scotland – your weekly summary of all key developments across Scottish local government. Easter didn’t just bring a stockpile of chocolate but also key updates for local government in Scotland as the sector looks for hints for what changes at Scottish Government mean for the 32 Councils. Keep reading to find out what else has been happening this week…

Check out the latest updates from LGIU Scotland that you may have missed:

New briefing: Supporting rural communities who face a cost of living crisis – a real and urgent problem to solve

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

This briefing looks at how any increase in rural households falling into poverty is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, which in turn puts further pressure on already under-pressure public services, who themselves are struggling to recruit staff.

New briefing: The role of councils in integrated care systems

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

While focusing on the English care system, this new briefing from LGIU looks at challenges of new ICSs and the initial evidence of their impact by drawing upon a range of reports on ICSs and highlights the central role of councils in making integration between health and social care effective.

New article: Understanding empty homes in Scotland

Open to everyone 🟢 

Addressing the 42,865 long-term empty homes in Scotland, our latest guest article from Andy Moseley, Policy and Projects Manager at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnerships, shines a spotlight on the true scale of vacancy in Scotland and how local government can be forefront in tackling this critical issue head-on.

Key updates

New cost of living hub – A new cost of living hub launched this week at the Scottish Community Council and in partnership with the Improvement Service. Containing key case studies, the new website collates great resources to help communities, councils and elected members to provide support to others.

New deal for local government? In case you missed it, First Minister Humza Yousaf made a point of meeting COSLA to reaffirm “the Scottish Government’s commitment to resetting the relationship with local authorities” and below are the key takeaways from that meeting:

  • Timing – Coming two days after the appointment to First Minister, local government and the relationship with COSLA hopefully indicates the First Ministers’ recognition of local government’s importance.
  • New title – Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick, with empowerment as the operative word which will embody the new deal with local government.
  • New deal – The New Deal will be jointly agreed with COSLA and will provide greater flexibility over local funding and clear accountability for delivering shared priorities.

New consultations

Closing soon 

Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) (April 17th 2023)

Housing, planning and infrastructure

Digital infrastructure is key to meeting future housing and care needs

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 


This briefing highlights the growing importance of digital technology in helping a wide range of people to remain independent in their own homes and to be served or supported in achieving independent living. It also demonstrates why new housing should embrace digital infrastructure and how this will help address the inaccessibility of most housing for disabled people.

Ministerial visit – While many of us ponder what the Ministerial shakeup in Holyrood means for the direction of local government in Scotland, it is certainly telling that Housing Minister, Mr McLennan, made a point of visiting Letham Mains housing development in Haddington in his first public visit. Outlining the importance of how “Scottish Government funding is supporting local councils and housing associations to deliver energy-efficient homes that meet the needs of communities across Scotland.”, the Minister reaffirmed support for Housing 2040 in the visit to East Lothian Council.

New active travel strategy in Falkirk Council – Presented to the Executive this week, the 15-year life-span strategy looks to tackle how 75 per cent of people in the Falkirk council area use a car as their primary mode of transport by expanding footways and cycleways.

Island drone delivery – Royal Mail is set to operate new drone delivery’s with Orkney with Skysports, in addition to expanding other uses of drones with Orkney Islands Council.


The state of local government finance 2023: survey results


To better understand the true picture of council finances in England, LGIU Local Democracy Research Centre surveyed chief executives, directors of finance, and council leaders and cabinet members on topics related to local government finance. LGIU plan to perform a similar survey in Scotland later in 2023.

£25 million extra for the North East – As part of the 10-year Just Transition Fund, which was established to accelerate the energy transition in Aberdeen and the North East, the Scottish Government has committed an extra £25 million to “establish the region as a world-leader in the transition to a net zero economy.”

Advance your knowledge of Scottish local government!

All Things Scotland is only one of the many ways LGIU keeps the local government community in Scotland up-to-date on all the key policy developments. To never miss a beat, you need access to our exclusive resources and our full Daily News service – one email, every morning with everything you need:

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Only available to members – find out more about LGIU membership here.

Health, social care and education

Council approaches to reducing obesity in Scotland and England.

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 


This briefing looks at the approaches that councils in Scotland and England are taking to tackle obesity and inactivity in their local areas. This briefing will be of interest to councils and their local partners, and particularly to officers and members with responsibilities for health and wellbeing, public health, and sport and physical activity.

Diabetes crisis – A new report published by Diabetes UK shows an all-time high for Type 1 and Type 2 and calls for “national and local health systems put diabetes at the heart of their plans”

Parent-run childcare in Borders – Parents in Duns formed a committee to ensure the only private childcare facility in the town after hearing it was set to close. Read more here to find out how a community campaign translated into a community interest company!


Climate and heritage

Rising to the climate change challenge: The role of housing and planning within local councils

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

This briefing deals with a report published in May 2022 by the Association for Public Service Excellence and the Town and Country Planning Association on the role of housing and planning services delivered by local councils in meeting the climate challenge.

Climate festival on Shetland – The two-day festival in June announced by Shetland Islands Council builds on the work of Shetland Climate Week 2022 and includes a range of local and national organisations in the soon-to-be-released programme!

Pilot seabed agreement in Orkney – Orkney Island Council and Crown Estate Scotland are set to embark on a “ground-breaking project aimed at giving Orkney islanders greater say in decisions about the use of the seabed around them,” which aims to ensure key decisions are informed by the priorities of those who live and work nearby.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar heritage strategy – Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and partners have agreed to launch “Heritage for People”, a new strategy which aims and prioritises the heritage sector of the Outer Hebrides over the next 10 years under the umbrella of the Great Place Scheme.