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More Budget Cuts At SLC


23/12/15


South Lanarkshire Council are warning residents to brace themselves for a Christmas present no one wanted – a further £21 million worth of cuts to services.

Council leader Eddie McAvoy branded the Scottish Government’s budget “disastrous” for local government, with even more far-reaching cuts needed to balance the books in 2016/17.

A number of services in East Kilbride were already set to be axed as part of the £36 million plus of cuts already put forward.


These included the GAMES out-of-school service at Greenburn/Maxwellton Primaries being scrapped, the removal of the Network East Kilbride mental health service, the closure of the cafe at Murray Owen Centre, which offers employment and training opportunities, and an end to the Christmas light switch-on in the Village from next year.

And it is expected there will be further job losses at the local authority on top of the 400 already planned.


Labour’s Eddie McAvoy said: "This has been a truly brutal budget for councils and that’s terrible news for the millions of Scots who rely on us for their vital services, from taking care of the elderly to educating children. John Swinney could have stood with councils to protect public services. Instead he has delivered a level of austerity even the Tories would have baulked at. The facts are clear: the Scottish Government has been given a cash increase from Westminster for next year but it has cut the amount it passes on for local authority revenue budgets by 3.5 per cent. Make no mistake: this was an austerity budget which was signed, sealed and delivered in Scotland by the SNP and it is ordinary Scots who will pay the price. We have not seen the fine print of the budget yet but the pain caused by Mr Swinney will certainly be felt in South Lanarkshire. Our government grant will fall next year by £21m more than the worst scenario we had previously feared.


"That means we will have to go back to the council’s executive committee with further proposals on top of the £36m of savings they have already been asked to consider. These are devastating cuts and they come after we have already cut about £100m from our budget in recent years. We’ve tried to protect local services throughout but the simple fact is that there is no fat. We’re already cutting into bone."


Tory councillor Graham Simpson also reacted angrily to John Swinney’s budget.

"The SNP’s budget is an attack on local government in Scotland," he said.

"That means it’s an attack on council workers, it’s an attack on our schools, our social work department, libraries, sports centres, housing and roads. Services will be hit. It’s inevitable and people need to be absolutely clear who is to blame: the SNP.

"They can’t carry on blaming others. This is their decision and the people of South Lanarkshire are going to pay the price."


The SNP group in South Lanarkshire declined to comment. However, the town’s SNP MSP Linda Fabiani defended the Scottish Government’s budget, saying: "I listened carefully to the deputy first minister’s budget statement, with particular interest to those things which constituents in East Kilbride have spoken to me about over the last while.

"It is good that the small business bonus is being protected, sheltering many small firms in East Kilbride from business rates. Scotland’s biggest businesses are being asked to pay more by increasing the large business supplement and the additional income from that will be used to support investment in research and innovation, and higher education, again very relevant in East Kilbride, which houses companies at the cutting edge of technology and innovation."