Council leaders have this week warned that “disaster is looming for local services” unless Holyrood stumps up more cash.The significant scale of the financial challenges facing West Lothian Council have been set out.Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick warned: “The simple reality is that if we continue to deliver the existing level of services we deliver now, we will run out of money.“If this were any other organisation, they would be facing insolvency and administration.
In terms of what that means for council services – roads, schools, care homes, open spaces – this would be disastrous.”The council said insufficient levels of funding and increasing costs has meant it will have to deliver savings of £26.9 million over the next three years to help contribute to the budget gap.A large number of budget savings measures have been agreed to enable the council to balance its budget, however, a report being presented to Council Executive next week has confirmed that the council has an overspend of nearly £3.5million for 2023/24.The council receives 80 per cent of its funding direct from the Scottish Government, with income through Council Tax making up less than 20 per cent of the council’s budget.Urgent action has been agreed to manage the overspend including putting in place recruitment controls and stopping non-essential spending.
Consideration will also be given to moving forward planned budget reduction measures and identifying new ways to reduce spending.Councillor Fitzpatrick said that unless more funding is given to local councils soon, the impact on local services will be disastrous.He said: “I think it is very important to be clear and up-front in terms of the position we and other councils are in.Read more on dailyrecord.co.uk
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