Scottish Budget: Council cuts of £50 million looming in Edinburgh, warns Labour
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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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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?”
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."