Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow City Council must find £29m savings

Gordon Matheson Image copyright Glasgow City Council
Image caption Council leader Gordon Matheson has blamed the Scottish government for the budget cuts

Scotland's largest council has said it needs to make more cuts to bridge a budget deficit of £28.9m in 2015/16.

Glasgow City Council said savings options would be brought forward between now and the setting of its budget in February.

The Labour-controlled authority has again blamed the Scottish government for ongoing budget pressure.

The government accused the authority of "rank hypocrisy" for blaming some of its problems on a council tax freeze.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Everyone understands that the Scottish government has subjected the people of Glasgow to year after year of disproportionate cuts.

'Real pressure'

"Added to the unfunded council tax freeze which continues to put real pressure on services, it's only as a result of clear political leadership and sound financial planning that we've survived the last few years with no really substantial damage to services.

"Tough as they are, we will meet next year's challenges. However, the Scottish government has saved the really big cuts for the two or three years after 2015."

He added: "It's not good enough for them to continue to pretend that everything's fine. We're going to need to hear some big ideas from them and we're going to need to hear them soon."

Glasgow City Council savings in previous years:

  • 2010/11 - £30.3m;
  • 2011/12 - £45.7m;
  • 2012/13 - £48.7m;
  • 2013/14 - £28.4m; and
  • 2014/15 - £20.4m

Glasgow City Council said that the total local government budget in Scotland was the same as last year and it would "again receive a smaller percentage of the available budget".

The authority said this amounted to a "£13.1m cut from the Scottish government".

The council said it also faced "inflation totalling £8.6m and unavoidable costs of £7m" and intended to set aside £3m for its reserves.

The authority said the scale of the savings required had been reduced by "decisions in previous years" which had saved £2m.

'Fully funded'

It said that although council tax would remain frozen, it expected to see an increase in payments "of around £0.8m".

A spokesman for Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said Glasgow "currently receives the largest overall funding in Scotland" and "the highest funding per head of all mainland councils".

He said: "Local government funding is allocated based on a needs-based formula which has been agreed by council leaders - if Gordon Matheson has a problem with this, he should speak to his Labour colleagues from other council areas who believe that Glasgow gets too much money.

"Mr Matheson's criticism of the council tax freeze is rank hypocrisy, given that he was elected on a commitment to a five-year council tax freeze - a freeze which has been fully funded by the Scottish government through additional revenues every single year."

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