Falkirk councillors back call for more funds as they face massive cash crisis
16.12.2022 - 22:43
A demand for more funding for council across Scotland to tackle unprecedented budget problems has been publicly backed by Falkirk councillors, after they gave the COSLA Save Our Services campaign unanimous support.
Falkirk is facing a budget gap of well over £60 million and members of Falkirk Council heard this week that even stringent controls on spending will not be enough.
The council met the day before Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced the Scottish Government's budget, which meant a detailed update could not be given as the grant from Holyrood is by the far the biggest factor in the council's finances.
Chief finance officer Amanda Templeman told councillors that the situation is volatile but the latest figures suggest the council will have a budget gap of £67 million over the next four years, half of which must be found this year.
The council leader, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn said that showed the very challenging position the council is in and said: "I'm still not convinced that every one around this table recognises the seriousness of that situation.
She said that the budget gap facing the council was compounded by Covid, Brexit and the cost of living crisis but also a "lack of willingness in the past of a Labour-led administration not wanting to take hard decisions".
She said: "We are now in the position where we have to take difficult decisions, not because we want to but because we have to in order to preserve key services to ensure that we can support our most vulnerable citizens."
While she agreed to support a Labour amendment commiting the council to supporting COSLA's campaign, she said it was also important to lobby the UK Government for more funding and to be realistic about how likely it was they
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