West Lothian Council needs to save over next three years

BILL HENRY  EXTERIOR OF LINLITHGOW  ACADEMY , WEST LOTHIAN, WHICH IS TO BE UPGRADED
BILL HENRY EXTERIOR OF LINLITHGOW ACADEMY , WEST LOTHIAN, WHICH IS TO BE UPGRADED
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Savings are the order of the day as the local authority tries to come up with an extra £3.9 million over three years to bridge its funding
gap.

At a meeting last week, members of West Lothian Council were informed grant funding from the Scottish Government was not enough to cope with the estimated growth in its expenditure – mainly due to the need to maintain teacher numbers in line with national policy.

As the council set its revenue budget for 2015/16 and 2017/18, councillors agreed to make additional savings to cope with the shortfall.

These included calling on the Scottish Government to provide a fully funded local government settlement for the next three years and calling for the government’s teaching numbers commitment to be fully
funded.

The council estimates, in order to maintain teacher numbers and the 14 pupils to one teacher ratio over the next three years, it will be required to employ an additional 57 teachers in that time.

Council leader John McGinty said: “These are the most challenging financial times the council has ever faced, but in bringing forward these budget measures, we have sought to find a balance to ensure we bridge our significant budget gap, while ensuring the money we do have is spent on services that matter.”