Falkirk Council agrees budget package

Falkirk Council's executive voted to accept the Scottish Government's budget offer after a 90 minute debate this afternoon in the Municipal Buildings.

The vote was taken this afternoon in the council's HQ
The vote was taken this afternoon in the council's HQ

But the “reluctant” approval by eight votes to two of the controversial package they fear could put front line services and hundreds of jobs at risk will be subject to the outcome of a probe by Cosla, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, into whether the settlement on the table from finance minister John Swinney could be the subject of a judicial review.

Councillor Craig Martin, leader of the Labour-led administration, warned: “The current financial circumstances facing local government are particularly challenging and any measures which restrict how council’s raise and spend their funding are not helpful at this time.”

Councillor David Alexander of the SNP Group claimed: “The 2016-17 offer from the Scottish Government is the best possible settlement given the significant cuts in their budget from Westminster’s austerity agenda.”

The executive was told the award will mean the council having to deliver £25 million of cuts in the next 12 months - but refusing to sign up would attract £12 million worth of sanctions.