Aberdeen’s SNP group has vowed to rejoin the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities if they win power in May’s council elections.
The Labour-led administration in the Granite City left Cosla, which negotiates funding settlements between the Scottish Government and the majority of other councils, to form the Scottish Local Government Partnership, two years ago.
The SLGP – which includes Labour-led authorities in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire – has constantly called for better funding from Holyrood and, at one point, even threatened legal action in pursuit of that objective.
However, the organisation has been criticised for contributing to the acrimonious relationship between the council and the government, with Aberdeen remaining the lowest-funded authority per head of population for the last decade.
Last night SNP group leader, Stephen Flynn, confirmed that, if his party won the upcoming election, they would seek to rejoin Cosla.
He said: “I think everyone is well aware of the lack of funding coming to the city but the only way that will improve is by being in Cosla and demanding a better deal for Aberdeen.
“Joining the SLGP has benefited nobody, it is a talking shop for the Labour party and has not been the best method of putting forward the case for the city.
“The decision to come out of Cosla was nothing but a stunt, it was Willie Young and his Tory and Independent colleagues once again throwing their toys out of the pram. ”
However, opposition Liberal Democrat group leader, Ian Yuill, argued the Scottish Government shouldn’t be deciding council funding levels, based on their relationship with the current administration.
He said: “Cosla has failed Aberdeen over the years. The Labour-Conservative administration approach with the Scottish Government has been counter-productive and has damaged the reputation of the city.
“But if Stephen Flynn is saying that’s the reason for the Scottish Government funding settlement to the city, then I think that’s shameful.”
Labour finance convener, Mr Young ruled out returning to the group and predicted more local authorities would join the SLGP.
He said: “Cosla is a puppet for the Scottish Government and that’s probably why Stephen Flynn wants to join so much.
“If Stephen Flynn was really serious about rejoining Cosla, then he would have put money in his budget for it.
“I suspect he didn’t, because he knows he won’t win this election and that the SLGP will continue.”