Falkirk braced to lose another £10m

CASH-STRAPPED Falkirk Council could lose another £10 million next year.

Stark figures from the authority’s finance chief, Bryan Smail, predict that significant financial challenges lie ahead following the publication of the Scottish Government’s spending review.

It calls on authorities to freeze council tax, increase pensions for teachers, the NHS and police and fire staff, and maintain teacher numbers.

This week, council leader Craig Martin said that £10 million pounds of cuts was a best case senario and warned that everyone could feel the pinch.

He said: “The cuts we’ll be looking at in the next budget will be between 10 and 15 million.

“The council has made £18.5 million of savings, and now we’re looking at a further £10 to £12 million on top of that.

“It’s not going to be easy and I think residents will start to feel the effects.”

The new three-year financial settlement from the Scottish Government suggests Falkirk will get less than last year, although full details will not be published until December.

The government also wants a ‘flat cash’ settlement which takes no account of inflation or other cost pressures.

The leader said: “It’s a double whammy because as well as flat cash, there will be no grant to cover a council tax freeze which is worth about £2 million so that makes it £12 million.

“It’s true the council has reserves but we also still have a huge equal pay claim and a couple of hundred more claims have just come in.

“We’ll be sitting down over the next few months and looking at everything, but I think people realise that we are living in difficult times.

“No decisions have been taken, but we want to protect frontline services and the vulnerable.

Continued P5