David McClemont, Green campaigner for Cambuslang, is calling for local authority debt to be written off after a report revealed the scale of the problem.
South Lanarkshire Council has £1,083,722,000 (over £1 billion) amount of long-term debt, including loans from the UK Treasury and private banks, and spends 56% of the money it brings in from Council Tax simply paying interest on those debts. [See table in report for details.]
Scotland's 32 local authorities have a total of £11.5billion in long-term debt.
The report, Local Government Debt in Scotland, shows that some councils are facing up to nine per cent interest rates, finding themselves trapped after taking out high-risk loans from private banks.
David McClemont , Green campaigner for Cambuslang, said:
"Just last week a new swathe of cuts and increased charges were proposed by South Lanarkshire Council. These job losses and cuts in services affect us all and negatively impact on the poorest most and women in particular. That's why it's appalling to learn that councils are using Council Tax revenue to deal with historic debts that enrich private banks and the UK Treasury.
"We need to cancel these debts so councils can focus on protecting local services. And we must improve oversight so councils aren't forced into high-risk loans in future. "A Scottish Government-controlled Loans Board would offer greater stability and value and should be explored."