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SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT BUDGET LEAVES COUNCIL WITH £16M FUNDING GAP TO FILL

The Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson, has revealed that the revised Scottish Government budget for next year will leave Dumfries and Galloway Council with a £16m funding gap to fill.

Councillor Nicholson was speaking following last week’s debate on the budget in the Scottish Parliament, where the Scottish Government revealed they intended to press ahead with massive cuts to council budgets. Although the scale of the cut in Dumfries and Galloway has been marginally reduced by £3.8m, the council is still left with a savings target of a massive £16m. This is on top of the £70m the council has had to save over the past three years.

Commenting on the news Ronnie Nicholson said:

“I’m deeply disappointed that the Scottish Government has agreed to press ahead with massive cuts to councils. Although these cuts have been reduced slightly, it leaves the council with a funding gap of £16m rather than £20m. This will have to be found through cuts to services and possibly higher council tax. With 58% of the council’s budget spent on paying for staff from carers to leisure attendants, it is inevitable that once again we will see a reduction in the workforce. The council’s workforce has already fallen by 1,100 since 2007 and it will be impossible to prevent it from falling again next year as a result of the Scottish Government’s cuts. The council has already had to make £70m of cuts in the last three years so this is another blow to the future of services and jobs so important to our local communities."

“The Government’s budget won’t be agreed by Parliament until about a week before the Council sets our budget later this month, but we now need to work on the assumption that these cuts will go ahead and complete the preparation of proposals to fill the £16m funding gap”.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has also slammed the proposed cuts, which he voted against in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (2 February). The local MSP took part in the Scottish Parliament debate on the budget and argued that the Government should increase income tax, including raising the top rate of tax to 50p in the pound for those earning above £150,000.

Colin Smyth said:

“These cuts are entirely avoidable. The Scottish Parliament now has control over billions of pounds of tax raising powers. It is shocking that the SNP Government won’t use those powers and stop the cuts to local services like education and care of the elderly”.

 

The updated cuts to the council’s budget by the Scottish Government are set out below:

 

Scottish Government Draft budget

Revised budget proposal

Grant Reduction         

£12.451m

£8.555m

Budget Uprating

£7.407m

£7.407m

2017/18 Funding Gap           

£19.858m       

£15.962m

 

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