SNP Budget leaves councils with financial black hole

Shona Haslam and Rachael Hamilton MSP have criticised the Scottish Government’s Budget plans which leave councils facing a huge financial black hole.


Cosla, the cross-party organisation which represents Scottish councils, expressed concern that the new funding increases from the Scottish Government do not counteract the effect of years of under-funding.


The organisation made various budget requests, yet the Scottish Government fobbed councils off with a meagre increase. 


Despite cash increases to councils of £590 million, the overall cut over the years has left councils with a £95 million black hole in core budgets.


Services such as libraries, grass-cutting and pothole maintenance have been the victim of cuts across Scotland as a result of SNP cuts imposed from Holyrood.


The cuts to local authorities have resulted in numerous councils having no choice but to consider implementing a council tax rise this year.


Both Ms Haslam and Ms Hamilton share the view of Gail McGregor, Cosla spokesperson, that the Scottish Government need to reconsider the financial settlement for councils.


Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council said:


“The SNP Government, year on year, have cut local council budgets.


“This token gesture of funding in the Budget is simply not good enough; councils will still face a significant financial challenge.


“Years of underfunding have left Scottish Borders Council with no option but to cut services and raise council tax.


“The Budget in its current form is not acceptable and I hope the SNP Government get round the table with Cosla to agree a fairer settlement”.


Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:


“I am very disappointed that the SNP continue to expect councils to run local services well but fail to provide with them the right cash.


“I don’t want to see cuts to budgets or council tax increases; the SNP have already punished working families already through higher income tax.


“As I made clear on the day, I will not be supporting this shoddy SNP budget in Holyrood.


“It fails to protect our public services, fails to give councils a decent settlement and it offers nothing for improving Borders infrastructure”.