Fife Tory councillors unveil budget proposals

Council Tax rise under four per cent and re-opening leisure centres top the list of action points.
Councillor Dave Dempsey (Pic: Walter Neilson/FFP)Councillor Dave Dempsey (Pic: Walter Neilson/FFP)
Councillor Dave Dempsey (Pic: Walter Neilson/FFP)

The Conservative councillors on Fife Council unveiled their party’s proposals ahead of Thursday’s crucial budget meeting at Fife House.

The local authority is facing a £15m budget shortfall, and is expected to unveil raft of [proposals which could see Council Tax rise as high as the maximum 4.84 per cent allowed by the Scottish Government’s finance settlement.

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But, Tory leader, Councillor Dave Dempsey, argued it doesn’t have to be that way.

Outlining his party’s budget paper, he called for more private investment and greater competition for maintenance and transport.

He said: “We can’t keep cutting budgets and damaging the services the public rely on. In recent months, we’ve seen council swimming pool and recycling centre hours slashed - with more to come.

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“It doesn’t have to be like this - if only the council administration weren’t so paranoid about allowing more private enterprise into the mix.”

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Councillor Dempsey said Tories would limit any Council Tax increase to under four per cent, re-open leisure centres, allow greater competition in road maintenance and transport and stop cutting privately owned grass for free.

It would also change the way holiday food clubs are organised.

Cllr Dempsey said: “Instead of feeding everyone regardless of need, we will target the holiday service at genuinely hungry children, and allow a third sector organisation like Gingerbread to deliver it - saving the Fife taxpayer £150,000 per year.

“We will do this and more while keeping the Council Tax rise below four per cent.

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“We wouldn’t have to raise taxes at all if the Scottish Government would fund local authorities properly.

“COSLA, the local authority body, has stated that the SNP Government is cutting £95 million from local authority budgets which is around £6 million from Fife Council. With the Scottish Block Grant rising by more than inflation, it’s no use blaming Westminster - we know where responsibility lies.”