Council leader votes to protect £4m in funding

Council leader Rhondda Geekie
Council leader Rhondda Geekie

Council leader Rhondda Geekie has vowed to pull her support for a funding change which would see East Dunbartonshire lose out on over £4m.

Last week we reported that in September of last year a COSLA meeting of council leaders voted by 15 votes to 13 to scrap the usual calculation for the allocation of Scottish Government council funding in 2015/16, in favour of retaining the same split as the coming year.

Councillor Geekie was one of those voting for the Labour group motion - a decision which has led to allegations from opposition councillors that she was putting loyalty to the Labour Party before that of East Dunbartonshire residents.

The claims came after it was revealed by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney that East Dunbartonshire worse off to the tune of £4.088million in revenue funding and £186,000 in capital funding.

But Councillor Geekie has now said she will reverse her vote at a meeting in April.

And, with 20 out of 32 local authorities set to be worse off should the previous vote stand, it’s expected other council leaders will follow suit and reverse the decision.

Councillor Geekie explained: “In September it was decided to use the same model as this year but at that point we didn’t have any of the figures.

“Now we have the figures the amounts have come as a shock and I think that has been the case at councils across Scotland.

“We will be meeting in April and there will eb another vote on the way funding will be allocated in 2015/16.

“I will be voting to revert to the previous system of funding which will mean East Dunbartonshire will retain the £4million in funding. I hope that the majority of council leaders will do the same.”

SNP group leader Ian Mackay hit back at the decision saying: “I am sure that the Labour group on Cosla Leaders did not imagine that the figures would be published and voted in favour of the larger councils interests on the basis of anonymity.

“Time will tell if she can recover the £4.1 million already given away.”