‘Day of reckoning’ looms

Falkirk Council crest
Falkirk Council crest
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Falkirk Council’s £40 million budget black hole has been dubbed a ‘‘day of reckoning’’ for the current Labour-led administration.

The Scottish Nationalist group say the situation - revealed last week and which was debated at a special meeting of the full council - would result in “the dismantling of the council’s social contract with the people”.

Cecil Meiklejohn, SNP group leader, argued local authorities had been given a larger share of the funding since her party had taken control of Holyrood in 2007.

She said the cash crisis in Falkirk was caused through “mismanagement” of the cash in the coffers by the current administration.

Mrs Meiklejohn said: “Since the Tories came to power in 2007 the Scottish Government’s budget has increased in cash terms by 6.4 per cent, although when inflation is taken into account a real term cut. During the same period local government’s funding has increased by 8.9 per cent.

“During the period since the SNP came to power local government’s share of the Scottish budget has increased from 37.1 per cent to 37.5 per cent, demonstrating the SNP’s commitment to local government.

“With the council being given an additional sum equivalent to a rise in grant of twice the rate of inflation to freeze the council tax I am surprised at the scale of the mismanagement of the council’s resources and therefore the scale of the cuts they are now proposing.

“The challenge we lay down to the Labour/Tory coalition is to tell us which of the cuts they are proposing to put out to consultation cross the line in the sand and so won’t ever be considered given the administration’s practice of seeking out soft targets, namely the very young, elderly, infirm and disabled.”