Council’s £3.2m budget boost

MSPs will vote this evening on whether to seek a second referendum from Westminster. Picture: Neil Hanna
MSPs will vote this evening on whether to seek a second referendum from Westminster. Picture: Neil Hanna

Communities in East Dunbartonshire are set to benefit from an extra £3.2 million in funding after the first stage of the Scottish budget was passed.

Holyrood voted the budget through on Thursday after the SNP government struck a deal with the Scottish Greens, totalling £220m of extra spending, including £160m for local authorities.

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay welcomed the increased funding, while Ross Greer, the Green MSP for the West of Scotland, said he was delighted the deal had delivered to his own community of East Dunbartonshire.

But weeks before East Dunbartonshire Council sets its council tax for the year, its Labour leader, Rhondda Geekie, said on Monday the budget still amounted to 
millions of pounds of cuts across Scotland.

The SNP-Greens deal will also see the threshold for the 40p rate of income tax frozen at £43,000. MSPs backed Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s tax and spending plans by a margin of 67 to 59.

The budget will be scrutinised today (Wednesday) by the Scottish Parliament’s 
finance committee.

A final vote on the 
budget bill will be held later this month.

MSP Rona Mackay said: “I am delighted £3.184 million will be given to East Dunbartonshire Council.

“Labour, Tories and Lib Dems held hands and tried to block this extra funding to 
local democracy in Scotland.

“We have proven the SNP is a party of consensus that is proud to work with others in the parliament.”

The Greens described the compromise as “Holyrood’s largest ever budget concession”.

MSP Ross Greer added: “I’m delighted I have managed to deliver tens of millions of pounds to councils including £3.2 million for my own East Dunbartonshire community.

“Our agreement will hopefully avoid classroom assistants and care workers being lost, local services reduced and service charges increased.

“This only the start of a journey towards genuinely progressive tax policies and empowered councils and communities.”

Councillor Geekie said on Monday: “Even with the concessions made to the Greens ensuring the budget is agreed, the SNP line amounts to 
millions of pounds of cuts across Scotland. “

She added that this position has been confirmed by leading economic research unit, the Allander Institute.

Councillor Geekie said: “The institute is non-political and certainly disagrees this is extra funding for Local 
Government.”

She added that as the 
council’s Lab/Tory administration does not have a 
majority she would be working closely over the next few weeks with the leader of the SNP opposition.

Councillor Geekie said: “We will have to find ways to deliver a balanced budget.”