Rennie: "Extreme" cuts to local services on the horizon

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has warned that councils face having to make "extreme" cuts to services as a new report from the Accounts Commission shows that councils are showing "increasing signs of financial stress". 

In its annual financial overview published today the local authority watchdog says more councils are having to use reserves to fund services but this is not sustainable. The Scottish Government provides around two thirds of council budgets. This fell by 5.2 per cent in 2016/17 to £9.7 billion. 

Mr Rennie said: 

"It's shocking to see a report from the Accounts Commission highlighting the pressure on local authority funding when the SNP and Greens assured us that last year's budget fixed it. Instead it turns out they barely patched the holes.

"We are already hearing reports of councils contemplating extreme measures like moving to monthly bin collection or closing every library in the local authority. 

"Councils are burning through their reserves at a rapid rate. This is not sustainable. The Scottish Government must ensure that a funding settlement is delivered that protects local services and the vital work that local authorities do to serve our communities."

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