Falkirk Council faces £10.5m shortfall in funds

Falkirk Council. Municipal building.
Falkirk Council. Municipal building.
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Falkirk Council will receive a £273 million slice of a £9.9 billion cash cake to do its job next year.

But with the total funding from the Scottish Government for 2013-14 £1.5 billion less than the current budget Scotland’s 32 local authorities have to spend – there are fears town hall bosses will come under even more pressure to deliver key services.

Falkirk’s share of the payout, made up of revenue and capital grants, is also subject to the council agreeing to freeze council tax for another year and maintain teacher numbers.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “This funding settlement delivers for local authorities and communities across Scotland. Despite the most dramatic reduction in public spending ever imposed on Scotland by the UK Government the total support will amount to over £9.9 billion including revenue and capital funding and funding from non-domestic rates.

‘‘This represents an increase in funding of £35.2 million to councils for new or extended service delivery.

‘‘It will also help local authorities deliver the council tax freeze to help families in tough economic times and maintain teacher numbers in line with pupil numbers and secure places for all probationers under the teacher induction scheme.”

Falkirk Council leader Craig Martin said: “These figures confirm that next year we are facing a £10.5 million gap in revenue between estimated spending requirements and resources which is going to make for a very challenging budget exercise in 2013.

‘‘The council has had to bridge gaps of similar magnitude in recent years and anticipate this will continue beyond 2013/14. Including this settlement we are looking at cuts of almost £40 million since 2009 and with such settlements the hurt will continue.”

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of the SNP Group, said: “Despite swingeing cuts in the Scottish Government’s budget by Westminster I’m delighted local government’s share of the overall Scottish budget remains a full one per cent above the figure the SNP inherited from Labour in 2007.

“Falkirk Council has been particularly well treated and with record reserves of over £15 million and a projected underspend of £2.5 million this year it is clear there is scope for a significant injection of capital into the local economy to stimulate growth and deliver much needed jobs and facilities.”