Council will seek to make £20m in cuts following Scottish budget

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

The Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council has confirmed that it will need to close a £20m funding gap, following the Scottish budget.

The Labour group on the council saythe core grant paid to local councils will be cut by £327m across Scotland- approximately 3.6%.

A statement from the group said: “As with last year, Dumfries and Galloway’s share of the cut is higher at approximately 4.4%. That will see a straight cash cut of over £12.5m from the council’s revenue fund. When added to the nearly £7.5 m uprating needed for agreed extra costs such as the 1% pay rise, the funding gap is confirmed as almost £20m.

Ronnie Nicholson, The Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said, “The Scottish Government have hiked council tax for homes above band D so that will bring in an extra £2m. Councillors can also now choose to raise council tax by up to 3% which would raise about £1.8m but that is a decision for Councillors in February.

“The other £16m will need to come from cuts in services. Given that we have already saved over £70m since 2012, this will be a huge challenge. The Government have claimed there is some extra funds through for example social Care and the attainment fund, but not only is this massively below the level of cuts, it is ring-fenced. The bottom line is at a time the Scottish Government’s budget is increasing, local services are being hammered yet again.”

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay unveiled the Scottish Government budget last week.

Mr Mackay said: “Today’s budget delivers a strong settlement for local government. The measures I have announced today mean that the total support from the Scottish Government and through local taxation provides an increase in spending power on local government services, not of £59.6 million, but of £240.6 million or 2.3 per cent. Local government will receive £120 million from central government to fund our shared ambitions to close the attainment gap. In addition we will maintain councils’ share of capital spending with an increase of £150 million compared to 2016-17.”