An update to Council at its meeting on 22 December confirmed that as a result of the Scottish Government announcement on local government funding for the coming financial year, the funding gap to continue to provide current services in the area is in the region of £14.4 million. This is as a result of the 5% reduction in East Dunbartonshire’s General Revenue Grant and a national reduction in the level of Non-Domestic rates. These are the two main elements of Council funding.
Additional other funding streams were identified in the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget which will partially offset the funding gap, but some of these are ring-fenced for specific purposes such as additional funding for addressing the attainment gap in schools and additional funding for Health and Social Care.
Council Leader Rhondda Geekie confirmed, “There is an overall reduction in our General Revenue Grant and whilst there is some additional funding specific to particular service areas, some of the additional funds proposed also require local decisions to be taken by this Council. For example, whilst we are told we can now increase Council Tax by up to 3% to increase our income, following the nine year freeze, we still need to agree as a Council that we are prepared to do that before we can translate that additional funding into our budget plans.”
There have been a number of Local Government Finance Circulars since the Budget Statement, which include full details of the financial package being made available to councils as well as providing clarification on a number of questions that have since been raised.
Councillor Geekie continued, “Whilst we are disappointed at our reduced funding, meaning we have yet more challenging decisions to make to find significant further savings, there is more information that we need to consider. Council agreed, therefore, to hold a further Special Council meeting on 12 January to consider further detail of the proposed settlement, before the requirement to confirm to Scottish Government that we accept our settlement, which we must do by 13 January.”
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