Clacks Council announces measures to close £20m funding gap

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Clackmannanshire Council has proposed a swathe of spending cuts in order to reduce its £20 million funding gap.

The Council announced the plans in its latest Budget Consultation for 2015/16, and includes a number of initiatives it is either stopping, reducing, changing, or charging for.

Clackmannanshire Council predicts that the funding gap will rise from £12.596 million in 20115/16 to £25.435 million by 2017/18, with net funding expected to fall by £2.89 million, and net expenditure to rise by £9.95 million in the same period.

Some of the services the Council is proposing to stop include: provision of free swimming lessons for Primarys 4 and 4; the Clackmannanshire Business and Tourism programme; funding CCTV; all supported bus services; and cease maintaining non-Council owned land.

The Council will also begin charging for nursery sessions over and above 600 hours; on-road and off-road parking charges in Alloa; and increasing burial charges to align with other authorities.

Speaking on the budget proposals, Independent Cllr Archie Drummond admitted that the issues facing Clackmannanshire Council are similar to all of Scotland’s authorities.

He added: “As London government continues to reduce funding to councils while, at the same time adding to the workload, the inevitability of cuts to current services is unavoidable”.

Furthermore, Clackmannanshire is also feeling the pressure from the increasing welfare demands from the growing elderly population, and the need for support for children and families “against a background of welfare cuts that hit the poorest hardest”, Cllr Drummond states.

Figures released in 2013 show that 24% of Clackmannanshire’s population is over 60-years-old, with the population as a whole set to increase.

Also speaking on the Council’s proposals, Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, agrees with Cllr Drummond that Westminster austerity cuts are having a negative impact on the Council’s budget.

He added: Because of these cuts, Clackmannanshire Council, like other local authorities across Scotland, have very difficult choices to make and as the local MSP, I am concerned about the impact on my constituents. 

“At the moment, the proposals on the table are those which have been put forward by council officers and I will continue to engage with the Administration throughout the process.”

Gordon Banks, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, was invited to comment on the Council budget, but failed to respond.

Clackmannanshire Council is inviting residents to comment on their proposals on their website: https://clackmannanshire.citizenspace.com/…/budget-2015-16.

Feedback is open until February 9th.

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