West Dunbartonshire Council leader calls for more government funding


West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) is not getting the money it deserves from the Scottish Government, the head of the authority has claimed.

Councilor Martin Rooney has written to Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes saying the local authority needs more money to meet the pay deal offered to its staff.

Negotiations on wages for local public sector workers are conducted between the government and the body of councils, COSLA.

Where there is a national agreement, councils either get an increase in funding from central government or they have to fill the gap.

WDC is already facing crippling finances after more than a decade of austerity from the UK government and the Scottish government.

And Cllr Rooney said West Dunbartonshire was in greater need due to levels of deprivation in the area.

He wrote: “Without financial support from the Scottish Government, local residents will face the prospect of the loss of public services as union members take industrial action affecting things such as waste collection, early years , primary schools and secondary schools.

“This is completely unacceptable and could have a devastating impact on the learning and achievement of young people in Scotland.

“West Dunbartonshire Council needs additional financial support from the Scottish Government to help fund the local government wage increase.”

Cllr Rooney also blamed the former SNP-led administration for leaving bigger funding shortfalls for years to come.

He said: “The previous administration of the SNP had left the council with a number of unfunded charges for future years and used the council’s ‘free reserves’ to establish the 2022/23 budget.

“This has left the council with a projected budget gap of £14m for the 2023/24 financial year which, to be frank, we will be really hard pressed to close without a massive negative impact on the quality and quantity of services that we supply on behalf of the Scottish Government.

“West Dunbartonshire needs help closing the £14million budget shortfall and funding fair pay for all our local government staff.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.


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