Scottish Budget: Council cuts of £50 million looming in Edinburgh, warns Labour

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Scottish Government’s budget will mean council cuts of around £50 million in Edinburgh over the next three years, city Labour leaders have claimed.

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

They said funding for the Capital was set to flatline, meaning a real-terms cut in the money available to the SNP-Labour administration to pay for local services.

And they accused the government of delivering a slap in the face to frontline council staff who had kept services going through the pandemic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Cammy Day says the budget is a slap in the face for frontline staffCammy Day says the budget is a slap in the face for frontline staff
Cammy Day says the budget is a slap in the face for frontline staff

Labour group leader and depute council leader Cammy Day said he had hoped for “fair funding” for councils in recognition of the huge efforts put in by health and social are staff, social workers, housing officers, staff who had maintained property throughout the city and all those who had helped provide services despite the problems of Covid.

“It's really disappointing that the hard-working frontline council staff have not been recognised and that instead we have further cuts to local government in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

"A cut to the council means a cut in services and jobs. There's not any magic money tree in the council. But you could argue there is in the Scottish Government because, according to our finance people, there's over £1.5 billion in reserves that maybe need to be allocated in times like Covid.

“It's a slap in the face, not only for staff, but also for SNP council leaders across the country who will be extremely unhappy that as we go into council elections that their government at Holyrood has slashed their funding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“And it's disappointing the Greens at Holyrood, having signed their pact and entered government, failed to get any additional resources for local government as they helped achieve in the past.

“Labour will go into the elections arguing for fairier funding for the capital city."

Labour’s finance vice-convener Joan Griffiths said the financial situation facing the council in the wake of the budget was “dire”.

She said: “The reality is it will be about £50m cuts we have to find. The days of talking about 'savings' are long gone, it is cuts we're facing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Yes, there was money came in last year to cover Covid stuff and that helped a bit, but there has been no increases in the core budget we get. Any money they have put into things has all been ring-fenced and it's been their priorities not our priorities, which takes away all the flexibility we have as a local council.”

The overall local government settlement was announced in the budget, but individual councils will learn their specific funding allocation on December 20.

Read More
Scottish Budget 2021: What exactly was announced?

Councillor Griffiths said: “They're saying we can increase council tax, but that’s after years of it being frozen and then capped because it suited them – it didn't suit councils.

"But what does that say to our communities, if we say we'll put council tax up and hit you while the government won't give us extra money to see us through these difficult times?”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has said the budget will deliver "real-terms growth" for councils.

She said: "It protects the core budget in cash terms and it also ensures that local government are getting a fair share of the health and social care consequentials, which is something that they have long called for."

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.