South Lanarkshire Council looks to cut £16 million from budget

South Lanarkshire Council’s leader has warned that this is the most volatile year ever for council budgets – due to ‘inadequate’ funding.
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The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) has also issued an SOS over local government budgets, estimating that a further £1 billion is needed to meet local authority budgets.

According to CoSLA, a further £550 million allocated for councils by the Scottish Government this year is simply not enough.

And Councillor Joe Fagan agreed, saying: “Once CoSLA accounts for money that is ring fenced or otherwise committed, for the core council budget there’s only another £38 million available.

No easy decisions for council leader Joe Fagan.No easy decisions for council leader Joe Fagan.
No easy decisions for council leader Joe Fagan.

“South Lanarkshire’s share of that would be around six per cent, and six percent of a billion would be £60 million, but six percent of £38 million is about £2.2 million. It’s completely inadequate to deal with the burden of austerity that has been shifted onto councils.

“As far as I’m concerned, the towns and villages of South Lanarkshire are paying the price.”

South Lanarkshire Council’s administration is fully behind CoSLA’s campaign for extra funding and is pushing for an extra injection of cash to protect vital services.

Cllr Fagan said: “The Scottish Government has pursued a deliberate budget strategy that will see the benefits of public spending increases accrue to them and all the blame for public spending cuts devolved to councils.

“We should be well resourced; we should have budgets rise in line with the needs that our communities have and, at the very least, that rise in line with the fortunes of the Scottish Government.

“We’re at a point now where the cuts that have been imposed deliberately on Scotland’s councils are causing real harm to the community.”

Council officials are currently trying to figure out how to balance the upcoming budget if the extra funding from the Scottish Government is not granted.

Cllr Fagan added: “We have now a budget gap of £16 million that will be presented to councillors who will have to decide how we close that gap – likely through a combination of further savings or council tax increases and charging increases.”

Final decisions will be made at the full council meeting on Wednesday (February 22).