Fife Council’s leader David Ross is calling on the Kingdom’s MSPs and MPs to raise concerns about the level of cuts to the local authority’s budget with Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
In a letter to Fife’s parliamentarians, Councillor Ross has set out the “significant impact” the Scottish Budget, announced earlier this month, will have on local services and jobs in Fife.
Cllr Ross said Fife Council would need make an additional £17m savings next year in addition to planned savings of £21m as a result of Mr Swinney’s budget, and a total of £91m in savings over the next three years.
“This level of reduction in grant from the Scottish Government will inevitably have a serious impact on local services and jobs,” he said. “Constraints placed on councils regarding education and council tax make the task of producing a balanced budget even more difficult.
“We have been trying to plan our finances and services over the longer term but this additional cut in our grant has come out of the blue with very little prior warning.
“Cuts by the Tory government in Westminster are undoubtedly having a negative impact on Fife, but the Chancellor’s recent UK budget wasn’t quite as bad as everyone was expecting. So it’s difficult to understand why John Swinney’s budget is so much worse than predicted for local councils in Scotland.
“I am asking all Fife’s MSPs and MPs, regardless of political party, to raise their concerns with Mr Swinney about the impact these additional cuts will have on our services here in Fife.”
The council’s Labour administration will present its own draft budget to the executive committee on January 12, and there will be a period of public consultation prior to the formal budget setting at the council meeting on February 11.