Fife Council co-leader warns of further cuts if government funding doesn’t increase

Fife Council Headquarters in Glenrothes
Fife Council Headquarters in Glenrothes

Fife faces further cuts in local services in the coming year unless the Scottish Government increases its funding, warns Fife Council’s co-leader, David Ross.

The Labour councillor is calling on Fifers to put pressure on their MSP to support this.

He said: “Once again Fife faces a significant budget gap between what we need to spend to maintain the current level of services and the estimated funding we will receive from the Scottish Government.

“This will mean further cuts in services such as leisure and recreation, roads maintenance, education, grass cutting and environmental services.

“We need local groups and individuals to put pressure on our MSPs to insist that the Scottish Government increases the funding to councils to support vital local services.

“We are planning our budget on the basis of a further one per cent cut to the Council’s funding, although this year we face the added problem of a delay in our grant being announced because of the timing of the General Election.”

Cllr Ross said local government has taken “the brunt” of the cuts in public expenditure over recent years with local government funding from the Scottish Government being cut by 7.6 per cent in real terms since 2013/14.

He added: “We have already seen the impact of these cuts on basic services such as the reduction in opening times at leisure centres and recycling centres, closure of local libraries, cuts to school budgets, reductions in the frequency of grass cutting and street cleaning, and less money available for roads maintenance.

“We are overspending our budgets for health and social care and for children and family services because we need to keep providing a service to the most vulnerable who depend on these services, but we have only been able to do this by drawing on our reserves – reserves which are now pretty much down to rock bottom.

“And these services really need increased funding to meet rising demand, not just the current level.

“In the past we have been able to invest in services such as education, early years services and apprenticeships to meet existing and emerging needs in our communities.

“We have employed additional pupil support assistants in schools and more social workers to work with elderly people and with children and families, and invested in work to address poverty across Fife.

“We no longer have the funding to invest in these preventative services or to meet emerging needs.

“These cuts in funding from the Scottish Government need to be reversed or we will continue to see significant cuts to our vital local services.”