Council agree budget amidst funding cuts

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Dumfries and Galloway Council have agreed a budget for 2016/17 at their recent meeting.

Four budgets were tabled at the meeting from different political groups following the announcement that the council’s Scottish Government grant was to be cut by 4.5 percent.

Opposition groups resorted to using a pack of cards to decide which would go against the Administration’s budget in a vote, however Labour were successful with a large majority.

Speaking at the meeting, the council leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said: “We now face the biggest challenge yet. The Scottish Government has trebled the cut in our revenue grant for 2016/17 to 4.5%.

“Our council faces having to make savings of £21.193 million in 2016/17.”

He later added: “There is no doubt that making £21.193m of cuts to our council’s budget was a sad day for Dumfries and Galloway.

“We promised to work day and night to find alternative proposals to the original options from council officers to minimise the number of job losses and the impact on services and that’s exactly what we did.

“In the end the Administration’s budget was overwhelmingly supported in the final vote by twenty five votes to nine , meaning the damaging SNP plans to scrap music instructions in schools, axe bus services and even get rid of what little we do to control seagulls, were all defeated .”

Andy Ferguson, SNP leader said:“This budget will see teachers removed from nursery classes and other childcare providers facing a gloomy year ahead as their contracts have been shrunk or in some cases may disappear altogether.

“Labour, aided and abetted by the Tories, rather than making some hard decisions today, have raided our bairn’s piggy bank to balance the books and the people will not forget that in the 2017 local government elections.”