Reacting to criticism from teaching unions at the prospect of further severe cuts, Fife Co-leader David Alexander points to the requirement “to put forward a balanced budget”, adding “any suggestions on how we achieve that would be welcome”.
Isn’t that what councillors, and particularly those who make up the administration at Fife Council, are paid to do? It’s not the job of unions, or members of the public.
As the SNP leader of Scotland’s third biggest council, one might expect Cllr Alexander to be making the strongest possible case for decent council funding to his SNP colleagues at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon and Derek Mackay. After all, as research from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows, the Scottish Government has cut budgets to local government at almost four times the rate of the corresponding cut to their own budget.
While the Scottish Government’s revenue budget has decreased by 1.8% in the past five years, it has slashed spending on local government by 7.1%.
If this truth is too awkward for Cllr Alexander to confront his bosses in Edinburgh with, and he is stuck on setting a balanced budget, I and my fellow Conservative councillors are happy to relieve him of his burden.
Cllr Linda Holt