Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Budget tensions rise as Fife Council’s SNP co-leader criticises Labour for financial scaremongering

Fife Council co-leaders, SNP Councillor David Alexander and Labour Councillor David Ross.
Fife Council co-leaders, SNP Councillor David Alexander and Labour Councillor David Ross.

Fife Council’s SNP co-leader has slammed his Labour counterpart for scaremongering after he suggested a choice between freezing pay or cutting jobs and services would have to be made.

Councillor David Alexander said politicians were often guilty of participating in a “financial ballet” ahead of annual budget discussions and criticised Labour group leader Councillor David Ross for presenting what he called the “worst case scenario” in comments earlier this week.

With Fife facing a projected £19.6 million gap in its revenue budget come February, Mr Ross accused the Scottish Government of underfunding local authorities and warned jobs and services were at risk without adequate support.

However, Mr Alexander believes the picture is not as bleak as some may suggest.

“Even in normal times I think we should be presenting a reasonable position to the people of Fife, not overly positive but not overly negative either,” he told The Courier.

“But in this year particularly, given the horror and sacrifices people have had to put up with, there is no place for point scoring.

“Everyone has worked wonders over the last eight months and it is important we welcome their endeavours.

“The last thing anyone wants to hear is after all the sterling efforts their jobs may be put at risk.

“There is no evidence at all that will happen.”

Mr Alexander went on to say Fife Council is actually in a better place than in previous years of the joint administration.

“Despite the scaremongering about cutting jobs, in this financial year the number of jobs in Fife Council has increased by hundreds thanks to the introduction of 1140 hours of free childcare,” he explained.

“In the year before the number of jobs also increased but marginally.

“It has been suggested that Fife Council face a black hole of £19.6 million.

“However, this includes Covid costs of £13.2 million and it is anticipated these will be covered by government flexibilities.

“If this happens Fife is facing a black hole not of £19.6m but £6.4m which at this particular time, months before we set our budget, is manageable.

“Other assumptions that can only be estimated is a grant reduction of 1%, pay awards and inflation.

“In the last two budgets the Fife Council grant from the Scottish Government was not reduced by 1%.

“In other words, the scare stories presented in the equivalent statements in the last two years did not happen.”

Mr Ross said: “Across the council our workforce has played a tremendous, valuable part in dealing with this crisis and I think we need to be recognising that and government needs to be recognising that, in not only funding local authorities for their services properly, and I very much hope we won’t see a reduction in our grant, but also recognising that the pay levels of our staff, who should be rewarded for the work that they’re doing and shows the value of some of these workers.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in