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Daily Record
Daily Record
Jenny Foulds

West Dunbartonshire Council leader pleads with Scottish Government for more funding

The leader of the council has made a plea to the Scottish Government for more cash – warning residents “face a loss of public services”.

Martin Rooney has written a letter to depute First Minister John Swinney and finance secretary Kate Forbes stating that the local authority needs more money to pay staff a fair wage.

He says despite a Scottish Government increase in cash this year, it still represents a “real terms cut”.

Councillor Rooney has written to finance secretary Kate Forbes. (Getty Images)

Workers in schools, early years and in waste and recycling services across Scotland could go on strike in a row over pay after rejecting a two percent pay offer.

A ballot runs until today (Tuesday) and will determine how staff want to proceed, with the Scottish Government being urged to provide COSLA with more money to prevent a nationwide strike.

In the letter, the Labour leader states: “At the COSLA leaders meeting in June the leader of Glasgow City Council proposed a five percent increase in pay but this was conditional on the Scottish Government fully funding the additional three percent.

“Unfortunately, it appears that to date, no formal offer has been submitted to the SJC [Scottish Joint Council], for their consideration.

“My understanding is that this is because the Scottish Government haven’t yet agreed to fund the required three percent of additional recurring funding.”

He warns: “Without the Scottish Government financial support, local residents will be faced with the prospect of the loss of public services as trades union members take industrial action affecting such things as waste collection, early years, primary schools and secondary schools.

“This is wholly unacceptable and could have a devastating impact on the learning and achievement of young people in Scotland.”

He goes on to say that the local authority needs financial assistance to help fund the local government pay rise, blaming the previous SNP-led administration for leaving bigger funding gaps for future years.

He said: “The previous SNP administration had left the council with a number of unfunded burdens for future years and had used up the council’s “free reserves” in setting the 2022/23 budget.

WDC's Church Street HQ in Dumbarton (Daily Record)

“This left the council with a forecast budget gap of £14m for financial year 2023/24 which, to be frank, we will really struggle to close without a massive negative impact on both the quality and quantity of services we provide on behalf of the Scottish Government.

“West Dunbartonshire needs assistance with closing the £14m budget gap and with funding fair pay for all our local government staff.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Despite continued economic uncertainty, the Scottish Government is providing a real terms increase of 6.3 percent to local authority budgets this year – despite cuts to Scotland’s overall budget by the UK Government.

“In the current financial year, the West Dunbartonshire Council will receive £224.1million to fund vital day-to-day services, an 8.4 percent increase compared to 2021-22.”

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