Council now likely to agree government budget deal

Falkirk Council is expected to agree a funding offer from the Scottish Goverment that is �25 million less than hoped for
Falkirk Council is expected to agree a funding offer from the Scottish Goverment that is �25 million less than hoped for

Falkirk Council looks certain to sign up for the Scottish Government’s budget package - because it cannot afford not to.

After weeks of ‘number crunching’ the local town hall is expected to reluctantly accept it will have to find £25 million of savings over the next 12 months to balance the books.

A special meeting of the executive this afternoon is tipped to rubberstamp the deal.

Repeated attempts led by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to persuade finance minister John Swinney to loosen the purse strings and give councils enough cash to protect frontline services and jobs have failed.

Mr Swinney set a revised deadline of February 9 for local authorities to agree the 2016-17 finance package - and threatened to hit any council that does not do so with tough sanctions.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Councillor Craig Martin, leader of the Labour administration, admitted taking the fight forward was “unlikely”.

He said: “I can’t pre-empt the decision, but there will have to be one ahead of Tuesday or we will face more financial misery.

“Mr Swinney has said clearly that if the council does not accept the package or fails to respond by the deadline the government will impose sanctions on the council estimated to be worth around £12 million.

“I believe that is undemocratic and morally wrong and confirms the SNP government’s agenda of centralisation is at the forefront of a party of austerity.”