Scottish Borders Council faced with £30m black hole

Scottish Borders Council is facing a £30m black hole in its finances over the next 5 years.

The figures have been revealed as the local authority launches a new public consultation ahead of its next budget, which will be set in February 2020.

The council’s financial position is so challenging that council officers have recommended a 3% increase in council tax each year over the next five years. Even with this increase, Scottish Borders Council will have to find £5m of savings next year just to balance the books.

Local politicians have said it is time the Scottish Government started properly funding local authorities, particularly given the extra money handed down from the UK Government.

Earlier this month, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid MP announced Scotland was set to receive an extra £1.2 billion in funding for next year as a result of increased spending in England and Wales.

Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “With our ageing population and councils being asked to do more by central Government, Scottish Borders Council are faced with some really difficult decisions.

“I would encourage people to get involved in this consultation, but a £30 million black hole is going to be difficult to fill, especially after years of cuts from the Scottish Government.

“Now is the time for the SNP Government to support our local councils with a decent funding settlement.”