Further cuts as council faces £18m funding hole

Happier times at Garlieston Primary School in 2015; it just escaped closure by the council last year
Happier times at Garlieston Primary School in 2015; it just escaped closure by the council last year

Galloway schools are facing closure due to an £18m black hole in the council budget while the local authority considers a Scottish Government demand to spend £7m on upgrading the area’s traveller sites.

Despite the Labour/SNP coalition running Dumfries and Galloway Council, Labour has been scathing about this year’s draft Holyrood cash allocation from the Nationalist government which, the party claims, leaves the region well short of the cash needed to run its existing services.

The council’s Leader, Labour councillor Elaine Murray, said: “Vital local services in our region have already been cut to the bone as a result of cuts inflicted by the Scottish Government.

“The draft budget will lead to cuts in schools, roads and local and other local amenities which have already been cut to the bone.”

Last year the council was on the brink of closing two Galloway primary schools, Garleston and Kirkbean, to save cash but eventually reversed that decision.

The council issued a separate statement, this time on Holyrood-recommended standards to be kept at the two council traveller sites, at Collin and Glenluce.

Council estimates of improving the sites to meet these government standards put the cost at over £7,8m. for Collin and £338,000 Government support for the sites is £60,000 a year.

The SNP chair of the council’s communities committee chair, SNP councillor Andy Ferguson said: “It is a priority of this council to protect our most vulnerable people.

“This is a stark report that really highlights the scale of the task to address the issues with the site at Collin. What is clear though is that doing nothing is not an option.”