Rethink by SNP government called for by councillors
DUMFRIES and Galloway Council faces £11m worth of cuts in services and another £4m in capital budget projects in 2020/21.
Colin Smyth, South of
Scotland Labour MSP, and Councillor Elaine Murray, council leader, have called for an urgent rethink by the SNP
The proposed budget was discussed by the finance committee last week when the extent of the cut was revealed.
Kate Forbes, public finance minister, announced the government’s budget in parliament after the resignation of finance secretary Derek MacKay.
Dr Murray has written to Ms Forbes calling for the rethink. The £11m reduction means the council will have to find savings, along with higher charges and council tax.
So far, the council has agreed £5.686m of cuts but needs to find another £5.197m to balance the books.
The paper to councillors
revealed that, over the next three years, nearly £40m of cuts will be needed on top of the more than £106m saved since 2010.
The government has indicated to councils that they can raise council tax by 4.84 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s currently 7.3 per cent below the national average and would generate an estimated £3.576m.
In a shock move the government has also slashed capital funding to councils for programmes such as new schools.
In a separate paper to the
finance committee it was revealed that the council faced a £3.951m cut in core capital funding compared with last year.
Mr Smyth said: “People need to wake up to what the government’s budget means for our area: more cuts and higher council tax.
“I’m not prepared to sit back and watch that happen so, unless there is an urgent rethink by the SNP, I will vote against the government’s budget in parliament.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing our services cut year on year by a government which could not care less about the services people in our region rely on.
“Thousands of jobs have already been lost as a result of cuts in council funding and more will go if the SNPs budget goes ahead.”
Dr Murray added: “The government’s budget will leave the council having to find £11m through more cuts and higher council tax yet again.
“This is at a time when services have already been cut to the bone.
“These cuts come on top of the £106m made by the council in the past nine years and show that, once again, services are bearing the brunt of austerity from both governments.
“What is particularly dis-
appointing is that, as well as the £11m cut in day-to-day services, we are receiving nearly £4m less for capital projects such as new schools.
“I have written to the finance minister calling for an urgent rethink before MSPs vote on the budget.
“People will be furious that, once again, because of the government’s budget, they face a council tax rise but services will still be reduced because of government attacks on council budgets.”