Severity of local government settlement may delay Council budget

The City of Edinburgh Council may need to consider delaying the finalisation of the city’s 2016/17 Budget due to the severity of the local government settlement announced earlier this week.

Edinburgh’s proposed settlement figure sees a headline revenue reduction of some 4.5%, which is double that which was anticipated prior to Wednesday’s announcement.

Council Leader, Andrew Burns, said: “A reduction in revenue funding of the scale now being proposed, will undoubtedly have a negative impact on a whole range of vital services that local government is responsible for delivering: the children in our care, the elderly struggling with dementia whom we look after, and vulnerable adults whom we assist daily; all these individuals rely on the support that only a council can provide.

"Of course we will continue to work with our colleagues in COSLA, to try and reach an improved negotiated settlement, but given the Scottish Government has confirmed their final Budget will not be approved by Parliament until the end of February, we may now have to seriously consider delaying the finalisation of the city’s own budget for 2016/17.”

Council Deputy Leader, Sandy Howat, added: “A revenue cut of this scale would be very damaging for jobs and services within Scottish local government generally, and here in Edinburgh specifically – the harsh reality is that this will translate to real job cuts that hit real families, in real communities throughout our capital city. Everyone will be hurt by this.

"The City of Edinburgh Council is already facing significant workforce reductions, and very challenging budget decisions – Wednesday’s announcement makes all of that even more difficult, and we may well need to consider delaying the finalisation of our own budget for the city.”

Notes:
  1. The Scottish Government announced its 2016/17 Budget settlement on Wednesday 16th December 2015
  2. As part of that announcement, it was confirmed that the final Budget will not be approved by Parliament until the end of February 2016
  3. The City of Edinburgh Council is currently scheduled to set its 2016/17 Budget on Thursday 21st January 2016
  4. The Council could now delay its own budget-finalisation, whilst negotiations at COSLA continue and the Scottish Parliament reaches a conclusion on the overall settlement

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