Council defies grant deadline
McAvoy wants to wait for budget
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