Clydesdale’s share of cuts pain to be £5m?

SLC headquarters...where some hard decision lie ahead as the council  decides its budget for 2016/17
SLC headquarters...where some hard decision lie ahead as the council decides its budget for 2016/17

Council services in Clydesdale could face up to £5m in cuts, its share of the pain predicted throughout South Lanarkshire following last week’s Scottish Budget.

As reported in the Gazette, the Labour-controlled 
council had issued 
warnings that it might be faced with finding £36m in saving if SNP government Finance Secretary John Swinney found the majority of his nationwide savings from council budgets.

South Lanarkshire Council leader Eddie McAvoy

South Lanarkshire Council leader Eddie McAvoy

Now SLC leader Councillor Eddie McAvoy claims that the impact will be even WORSE than the council was predicting.

In a statement issued the day after the budget, he said: “This has been a truly brutal budget for councils and that’s terrible news for the millions of Scots who rely on us for their vital services, from taking care of the elderly to educating children.

“John Swinney could have stood with councils to protect public services. Instead, he has delivered a level of austerity even the Tories would have baulked at.

“The facts are clear – the Scottish Government has been given a cash increase from Westminster for next year but it has cut the amount it passes on for local authority revenue budgets by 3.5%. Make no mistake, this was an austerity budget which was signed, sealed and delivered in Scotland by the SNP, and it is ordinary Scots who will pay the price.

“Our government grant will fall next year by £21m more than the worst scenario we had previously feared.

“That means we will have to go back to the council’s Executive Committee with further proposals on top of the £36m of savings they have already been asked to consider.”

It now seems that, instead of the £36m the council will have to find in savings in 2016/17, that figure will now be over £50m.

Given that Clydesdale has about a tenth of the total South Lanarkshire population our ‘share’ of the cuts would be around £5m.

Clydesdale’s SNP MSP Aileen Campbell retorted: “Councillor McAvoy had a chance to advocate a break with George Osborne’s austerity economics in 2014. Instead he and his party marched alongside the Tories with the result that the Scottish Government’s capital budget will be £600 million lower in 2020 than it was in 2010. The SNP Government will continue to use our limited means to protect services as best we can.”