Coun­cil de­fies grant dead­line

McAvoy wants to wait for bud­get

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations - Douglas Dickie

South La­nark­shire will not ac­cept the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s grant of­fer be­fore the dead­line this Fri­day, de­spite threats of a cut in cash.

Coun­cils across Scot­land had been told by fi­nance sec­re­tary Derek Mackay they need to agree to their set­tle­ment by Jan­uary 20 or risk more cuts.

How­ever, with the SNP gov­ern­ment still try­ing to se­cure sup­port that will get their own bud­get through par­lia­ment, coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy said the coun­cil was not in a po­si­tion to “ac­cept or de­cline” the of­fer.

Mr Mackay had orig­i­nally given coun­cils un­til Jan­uary 13 to ac­cept the of­fer but ex­tended this to the 20th.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil scrapped a spe­cial meet­ing at the be­gin­ning of the year as the Scot­tish bud­get had not yet been passed by par­lia­ment.

Coun­cil­lors will next get a chance to dis­cuss the fund­ing pack­age on Fe­bru­ary 8 at an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

The au­thor­ity faces hav­ing to make over £22m of cuts to pub­lic ser­vices to bal­ance the books.

Coun­cil­lor McAvoy said: “I have replied that I can­not ac­cept or re­ject the of­fer be­cause I do not have the in­for­ma­tion from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

“The fig­ures we have are pro­vi­sional. We should not set a bud­get un­til such a time as the fi­nan­cial pack­age is through par­lia­ment.”

A Sc o t t i s h Gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said: “We have treated lo­cal gov­ern­ment very fairly, de­spite the cuts to the Scot­tish bud­get from the UK Gov­ern­ment, and we are re­quired by statute to con­sult on the terms of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment set­tle­ment ahead of the fi­nal stages of the bud­get in or­der to pass the re­quired leg­is­la­tion to fund lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has been clear from the out­set that it wants to work in part­ner­ship with lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

“The pack­age of fund­ing on of­fer this year, once agreed, does not con­tain such sanc­tions. The cab­i­net sec­re­tary’s let­ter to coun­cils is clear, how­ever, on the likely out­come for those au­thor­i­ties not agree­ing the of­fer in the first in­stance.

“It is now up to each in­di­vid­ual lo­cal au­thor­ity to ac­cept the full pack­age of mea­sures and ben­e­fits.”

I can­not ac­cept or re­ject the of­fer

no agree­ment Ed­die McAvoy

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