Further cuts loom in West Lothian

Many are ignorant of their pensions.
Many are ignorant of their pensions.

West Lothian Council is looking to identify a further £5.2 million of savings over the next four years.

A report to the council’s Partnership and Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) sets out the council’s current financial position. Further savings are necessary to fully bridge an estimated budget gap of £65.3 million over five years, with over £60.1 million of savings previously identified from 2018/19 to 2022/23.

The council is required by law to set a balanced budget and £5.2 million of savings are still to be agreed to completely balance the budget for the next four years.

The report looks at a number of options for potential savings, put forward by stakeholders following the council’s largest ever consultation, Transforming your Council, which saw local people and groups make suggestions on how the council could save money. A previous meeting of the PDSP asked for the report to be prepared to allow elected members to consider options raised by the public.

Like all local authorities, West Lothian Council is facing significant budget challenges. The money the council receives from the Scottish Government is significantly less than the amount needed to cover the rising costs of delivering essential services, such as those required for the West Lothian’s growing population of children and older people.

More on this story will appear in next week’s edition of the Gazette