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Daily Record
Daily Record
Judith Tonner

North Lanarkshire leader warns of 'impossible' budget choices

North Lanarkshire Council’s leader says the authority is “faced with impossible choices” as it prepares to set its annual budget – and that: “Some services [may be] at breaking point.”

Jim Logue has now invited the area’s MSPs to a special briefing on Friday to outline the authority’s financial position as councillors get ready to find £30m of savings to balance the books for the 12 months ahead.

Members will set the authority’s budget for 2023-2024 on February 23, and face making cuts totalling £67m over the next three years.

Councillor Logue said this week: “We need to make some very difficult decisions about services and how they function in the future when the council sets its budget.

“The reality is that we are required to deliver more services than we did 10 years ago, yet this council’s budget has been cut by more than £228m in the last decade.

“We are faced with impossible choices and it’s essential that MSPs are fully aware of the detailed challenges we face so that they can properly represent their constituents.”

He will be joined at the parliamentarians’ briefing by chief executive Des Murray along with North Lanarkshire’s chief officer for finance, where they will “highlight the challenges facing the council” to North Lanarkshire’s five constituency and seven regional representatives at Holyrood.

Councillor Logue said: “The reality is that the Scottish Government grant funds 82 per cent of all council services; continued ring-fencing of funding and real-terms reductions mean some of the most valued local services are under threat.

“The only way to avoid significant cuts to these services is for the Scottish Government to provide a fair financial settlement to councils. I have invited MSPs from all parties to this really important briefing – it’s essential they are fully aware of the detailed challenges we face so that they can properly represent their constituents.”

Richard Leonard, the Central Scotland representative, wrote last week to deputy first minister John Swinney sharing his “serious concerns” about council funding and outlining potential revenue-raising powers to boost the finances of public services.

Mr Swinney said the Holyrood administration was “giving our commitment to the financing of local government” as he announced the Scottish budget in December, including an extra £550m for councils in last month’s budget.

The North Lanarkshire budget meeting will also include setting council tax rates for householders for the year ahead.

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