Council faces funding shortfall of £11.7m

Dumfries and Galloway Council faces an £11.7m funding shortfall as a result of the recent Scottish Government budget.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 11:22 am
Dumfries and Galloway Council faces having to make cuts and raising council tax
Dumfries and Galloway Council faces having to make cuts and raising council tax

The massive funding gap has been described as “the worst budget settlement in living memory” by council leader Elaine Murray.

The Scottish Government claimed it has “increasing funding” for local authorities, but COSLA says the budget is a £100m cut to councils even before any other pressures such as National Insurance costs, pay or inflation are taken into account.

Figures released to councillors by council officials revealed an £11.7m shortfall for the year ahead. Without cuts, it would require a 15.1 per cent rise in council tax to make up the budget gap.

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The real terms cut to the council’s funding now means councillors will be asked to consider cuts and council tax rises to balance the books when the budget is set by the council in February.

The Local Government Finance Settlement was published last week, nearly a fortnight after the publication of the Scottish Budget in Parliament.

Co uncillor Murray said: “The Scottish Government waited nearly two weeks to tell councils their funding for next year because they wanted to bury bad news just before Christmas. But this has turned out to be a real nightmare and the worst budget settlement in living memory.

“The Scottish Government tried to spin this budget as an increase in funding by failing to mention the extra costs and commitments they had piled on councils. The brutal fact is we face a £11.7m shortfall just to stand still.

“This comes on top of a decade of cuts, and you simply have to ask how much more abuse local services can take from Government before they grind to a halt. Our biggest costs are areas such as education and caring for our most vulnerable, so it is appalling such lifeline services are under attack.

“At a time when the council is trying to support our communities in tackling Covid, the Government want to undermine that fight by stripping away our resources.

Councillors of all political persuasions now face the prospect of making cuts to vital local services and increasing council tax to produce a balanced budget and that will mean some incredibly painful decisions.”