The news arrived late yesteday afternoon in the City Chambers that the SNP Government, having last year awarded Glasgow the lowest funding settlement of any local authority, had ripped off Glasgow yet again.
Early this year John Swinney had told Glasgow to expect a reduction of 2.6%, equivalent to £43 million in cuts. Now Glasgow residents have been told we are to face instead a reduction of 3.6%, adding a further cut of £13.5 million. The Labour administration are now warning that “brutal and unpalatable” cuts options across all services will now be back on the table for consideration.
And what of the SNP who said they would be ‘Local Champions’ for our communities. Had Glasgow received the same deal as SNP controlled West Lothian then the city would actually be £46 million better off.
SNP Councillors in Glasgow however are out defending this cut – saying Glasgow got its fair share! With ‘Champions’ like this who need’s enemies.
UPDATE 13 Dec 2010
The Chief Executive has now written to all staff to alert them to the consequencies of the Scottish Government’s decision.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE GEORGE BLACK
Glasgow City Council budget allocation for 2011 to 2012
You will be aware from reading the newspapers or listening to the radio that the Scottish Government has now announced our funding allocation for next year. I want to tell you what this means for us.
What has been announced?
The Scottish Government had previously announced that Local Government would receive a cut in budget of 2.6%. This would have meant a reduction in Glasgow’s budget of some £37 million and you will remember that last month we published a draft budget based on these figures..
In actual fact we have had our budget cut by 3.6% which means additional cuts to our budget of some £13.5 million. The circular which was published by the Scottish Government, along with an initial analysis – Finance Settlement Key Points – by the Executive Director of Finance..
It is also worth reflecting on the fact that if we had received the same cut as West Lothian Council, who received the smallest cut at 0.32%, our budget would require to be cut by a total of £5 million next year, not the £51 million by which we will actually have to cut it.
What happens next?
The Executive Director of Finance will be working to amend our draft budget to take into account these new, much deeper cuts. I am afraid I cannot say at this time when the new draft will be available for you to read. As you might imagine, a great deal of work will be required, probably through the Christmas break, so it may be late January before we have anything to share with you. Rest assured I will communicate with you again as soon as the draft budget is available.
I would like to stress that you must not underestimate the seriousness of the situation we now face. It is very likely that there will be difficult and painful cuts to services which we are proud to deliver and on which we all rely as citizens. I am confident that if any group of staff can get us through this it is you, however it will not be easy.