Lamont hits out at £7M cut to budget

Local Tory MSP John Lamont has condemned the SNP Government after the local authority saw its budget slashed by almost £7m.

This flies in the face of a £400million rise in the Scottish Government budget.

The Scottish Executive announced the £6.6million cash cut on Wednesday, and in his budget statement, Finance Minister John Swinney outlined spending plans for councils across Scotland which included the bleak news that Scottish Borders Council will receive £207.2million in 2015-16, falling to £200.6million the following year.

Mr Lamont slammed the million pound cut saying: “For years, the finance secretary has portrayed himself as a prisoner of Westminster austerity, but the reality is that he has £400million more to spend next year compared to last year.

“The SNP Government has chosen to slash council budgets across Scotland and Scottish Borders Council will have to deal with one of the largest decreases.

“The council is already struggling to properly fund our schools, our roads and our bins service. A further cut of £7million next year will only make matters worse. I am disappointed that the SNP does not appear to prioritise frontline services provided by councils.”

Hawick councillor Davie Paterson, who is SBC’s environmental services portfolio holder, said: “I’m extremely concerned. It’s unclear at the moment just what the impact may be but I’m very worried that cuts to services may follow. We’re already cut right to the bone and this makes the situation far worse.

“I came into local government with the express desire to help people and now once again I find this getting harder and harder. I’m concerned that hard-working people will once again see themselves losing out.

“I’m meeting with my department director on Monday to discuss this but I can’t stress enough that I’m worried.”