Are savings still required?

North Lanarkshire is waiting with baited breath to learn if proposed council cuts can now be shelved - at least for this year!

A full meeting of the council to set the budget takes place at Motherwell Civic Centre on Friday morning.

The council held a series of public events asking for feedback on various options to help them make decisions to save around £10 million.

However, could an extra £10 million being offered by the Scottish Government in Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s revised budget stave off some of the cuts?

The proposed original local government settlement would have seen the council looking at a £22.5 million spending gap in 2018/19, although with a three per cent council tax increase, this reduces that deficit to £18.656 million.

The council has already stated it has identified savings worth £9.7 million, therefore an extra £10 million in capital grant would see some proposed cuts being no longer necessary, rescuing some council services.

A council spokesperson said: “The additional £10.1 million is welcomed by the council to enable us to balance our budget, but we are seeking further clarification from the Scottish Government whether this funding will be secured for future years and whether there are conditions attached to its spend.”

The Scottish Green Party took credit for forcing the Scottish Government’s hand in offering more money to local authorities and it believes the deal does mean the council can now scrap many of the planned cuts.

Rosemary McGowan of the North Lanarkshire Greens said: “Now that we have delivered more than £10 million of extra funding council leader Jim Logue and his Labour colleagues must act to scrap the worst of the proposed cuts to jobs and public services.

“This monumental budget deal delivered by the Scottish Green MSPs secured £10.1 million for the council. It also means those on the lowest incomes in North Lanarkshire will get an income tax cut, and those that work in the public sector will get a wage rise.”

Trade union UNISON is planning to hold a protest outside the civic centre at 10.30am on Friday prior to the budget meeting.

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