Jobs warning after cut to council grant

Photograph Jamie Forbes 25.1.13.  KIRKINTILLOCH Council HQ, Southbank Marina. CLLR Rhondda Geekie at her desk.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 25.1.13. KIRKINTILLOCH Council HQ, Southbank Marina. CLLR Rhondda Geekie at her desk.

Jobs and services are 
under threat because of a
“disastrous” cut to the local government grant, the leader of East Dunbartonshire 
Council has warned.

Councillor Rhondda Geekie (Lab) hit out at finance minister John 
Swinney’s spending plans for 2016-2017.

She said locally this means the council will have to find double the amount of savings than previously thought.

Councillor Geekie added: “This budget settlement is disastrous for local government in Scotland. We have been given a huge cash cut whilst health and 
police receive additional funding and protection.

“Our services and jobs are all under threat as are the vulnerable in our communities.

“Cutting the local government grant by £350 million Scotland-wide will see huge job losses which will also 
affect local economies.

“Locally this means that our budget reduction target this year has more than doubled and that is after a decade of previous funding cuts amounting to £50 million.”

Chief Executive Gerry 
Cornes said the council had been anticipating a reduction in grant of 0.9 per cent for 2016-17.

He said: “This will now 
see a more significant 2.27 per cent reduction in grant.”

He added: “The council funding settlement was delivered as a package of measures which include a Council Tax freeze for the ninth consecutive year and a national deal for maintaining teacher numbers at the 2015-16 levels.”

According to the council, additional pressures will include a rising demand in services such as care placements and increasing school rolls.

A council spokesperson said it will also need to consider carefully the four per cent turnover efficiency target, which equates to £2.9 million. The result, she said, means that subject to a range of checks, savings required for 2016-17 are now in the region of £14 million – £15 million.

The council is expected to reveal its cost-cutting plans on March 17 next year.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Local government in Scotland starts from a healthy base, especially compared to the position in England where councils faced a significant real terms cut in funding.

“This funding proposal for 2016-17 delivers a strong but challenging financial settlement for local government which will be strengthened by our joint working to improve outcomes for local people through health and social care integration.

“We are also making £70 million available to continue the council tax freeze for a ninth consecutive year, saving the average band D household £1,550 in total on their bill.”