New research has highlighted the true extent of the Scottish Government’s decision to slash Scottish Borders Council’s budget, with further cuts expected this week.
Ahead of the Scottish Government’s budget for 2017-18, new research carried out by the independent Scottish Parliament’s Information Service (SPICe) has concluded that since 2013-14, the amount of money the Scottish Government has to spend has risen by over £1 billion. This is a rise of 3.4 per cent in real terms, taking into account inflation.
However, since 2013-14, Scottish Borders Council’s budget was cut by £8 million, a fall of 3.9 per cent in real terms. This included a 6.5 per cent cut to the Council’s revenue budget, which is the money spent on front line services. Further cuts are expected this year.
With further cuts to council budgets expected on Thursday, local politicians have said these figures destroy the Scottish Government’s excuse that it is having to cut budgets for local services because of decisions made by Westminster.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “It cannot be underestimated how much damage Scottish Government cuts to the Borders budget is causing. This is money that is being taken away from our schools and our roads.
"The Scottish Borders is crying out for more money and the Scottish Government refuses to cough up despite the extra money given to it by the UK Government.
“It’s time the Scottish Government understood the problems in the Borders and help us resolve them. Not slash our budget and make our lives harder.”
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2013-14 is used as a starting point because before then, policing budgets used to form part of the Council budget, meaning comparisons cannot be made before that year. The figure used for the Scottish Government budget is it’s Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL), which is the budget allocated and spend by the Government. Total Managed Expenditure (TME) includes money spent outside budgetary control, on things like pensions and welfare. If this figure is used, the Scottish Government’s budget has risen by an even greater percentage.