North Lanarkshire Council’s Leader has sent a letter to local MSP’s urging them to think about their constituents ahead of Thursday’s Scottish Budget vote.
Councillor Jim Logue is asking parliamentarians to think about residents ahead of the vote, which will see North Lanarkshire Council face cuts of over £70 million within the next three financial years.
North Lanarkshire Labour have said this will be devastating for residents and will see many services either reduced or stopped to save money.
Local government body COSLA have advised that cuts will see councils making tough choices, affecting services in culture, schools, waste and family support.
In the letter, Councillor Logue states: “I acknowledge that there are current financial and economic challenges with rising prices, inflation and soaring energy bills.
“In the past we have still managed to deliver balanced budgets against the context of real term cuts. These challenges were set during times of low inflation and relatively stable demand.
“To continue such a model of funding against the backdrop of such exceptional circumstances places councils, and the services they deliver, at significant peril.
“A real terms cut over three years in North Lanarkshire Council will be devastating to local communities. Local services will need to be cut to the core and local residents will be greatly affected.
“With an ongoing cost of living crisis and people already struggling, the last thing we need to is to provide residents with even more cuts to council services.
“I would urge you as representatives for North Lanarkshire to think about your vote on Thursday and how this will affect the people you represent.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney, currently also filling the role of finance secretary, insists that he recognises the gravity of the financial challenge facing local authorities.
Mr Swinney said: “Part of the dilemma we all face is that the finance directors asked for Barnett consequentials to be targeted to support the vital services that local government provides.
“If I followed that, no extra money would be given to the health service. I have to take a balanced position.
“I will set out the financial support for local government in the budget. Parliament should be under no illusion we are facing the most challenging budget circumstances since devolution.”
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