Scottish Government confirms extra £7.5m funding for Falkirk Council

Falkirk Council has been given £315m in its budget for 2021-22.
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The 2.4% increase came from the Scottish Government as it unveiled details of its settlements for local authorities across the country.

The settlement provides councils with an increase in day to day revenue spending, including compensation for those which choose to freeze council tax, and extra help via one-off funding to support ongoing COVID-19 pressures.

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Kate Forbes, Finance Secretary, said it would help fund vital council services - but local councillors are still pouring over the numbers before turning their attention to any Council Tax rise.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSPCabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP

Ms Forbes said she had taken the “significant step” of offering funding equivalent to a Council Tax increase of around 3% to councils which choose to freeze bills and urged them to join her to give a “much needed financial reassurance to those who are struggling.”

She added: “We need to focus on how we rebuild and renew our country, and the funding I am providing to local authorities reflects the key role that they will continue to play in that journey.”

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Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn welcomed the additional COVID grant funding, but said the complex package had “still to be fully evaluated in terms of what it means in terms of our estimated £24m overall budget gap.”She added: “Council tax will be set at our budget meeting and will take into consideration the government funding for freezing council tax at its current level.”

For Labour, the funding - up from £308m to £315m - doesn’t go far enough and urged the Finance Secretary to “go back to the drawing board” and deliver “a fair deal.”

Councillor Robert Bissett, Labour group leader, said: “The financial support being offered by the SNP government in their budget does not even cover the losses councils have incurred due to the pandemic, let alone 14 years of SNP starving councils of funding.

“Falkirk has faced £150m of cuts over the past 10 years subsequent job losses and faces £76m of cuts over the next five years - cuts that will have a direct impact on local services.

“Cuts to councils equals cuts to communities.”

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