Councillors in Angus have expressed their anger at a £6.5 million cut to the Angus Council budget.
Finance secretary John Swinney announced the cuts to local government funding during Wednesday’s budget announcement at Holyrood and also stated that council tax would be frozen for the ninth year.
Angus Council’s budget will be reduced from £203.7m in 2015-16 to £197.3m in 2016-17.
An official comment from Angus Council yesterday said it was “a tighter budget than anticipated” and would mean that its established programme of savings and efficiencies would have to be further developed.
Montrose councillor David May said the move would mean that Angus Council would be faced with more tough decisions.
He said: “I am seriously worried about the cut to the council’s budget. We have already made significant cuts in the last few years.
“I am not a supporter of the council tax being frozen because every time it’s frozen there is less money for the council to spend on essential services. Jobs may be at risk too.
“The people who are suffering most from the cuts are the lower income and vulnerable.
“I’m appalled at some of the things on the council’s agenda which are now having to be considered.
“This idea that the SNP are going to put an end to austerity is just nonsense.”
Arbroath councillor David Fairweather said the cuts would be “brutal” for local authorities.
He said: “For local authorities this is going to be brutal. We have services which are statutory and still have to be provided. So some public services are going to feel the strain.”
The SNP administration’s finance spokesman, Alex King, said the council had been given some indication there would be a cut, but had only been briefed on its extent on Wednesday.
He said it was a major additional pressure and will be acted on by the budget setting process in the New Year, following a meeting yesterday.
An Angus Council spokeswomann said: “It’s clear we will have a tighter budget than anticipated but there are no specifics on how we will tackle that as yet in terms of developing our already established programme of savings and efficiencies.
“The full implications of the Deputy First Minister’s announcements are being identified.”
Photo by Angus Pictures