Renfrewshire Council

Council was in impossible position over funding

You may have heard a lot in the news over the past few weeks about the funding that councils receive from the Scottish Government and the debate about whether it is enough.

I should point out firstly that, overall, its single biggest cut imposed on local government yet, and secondly, it's a 3.4% grant cut for Renfrewshire.

Council leaders were asked to write to Finance Secretary John Swinney by Tuesday 9 February indicating their acceptance of the deal. I have done so but, as I said in my letter, only because we were in the impossible position whereby not doing so would deny access to millions of pounds of funding.

There should be no illusions about the difficulties councils face. An independent report just published pointed out that we face a 17% gap over the next five years between the cost of meeting demand for council services and the funding available.

We are clear on what our priorities for Renfrewshire are and will continue striving to deliver on them. The Invest in Renfrewshire programme has halved youth unemployment in the past three years; we're delivering hundreds of new, affordable homes across Renfrewshire; Families First is ensuring our youngest children get the best start possible; and our Tackling Poverty Fund is supporting a range of initiatives specifically-designed to lift families out of hardship and build resilience for the future

But without the necessary long-term funding from the Scottish Government for initiatives such as these, and to maintain the vital frontline services people rely on, it becomes increasingly difficult.