Scottish local authorities will be left short

Scottish executive spending plans will leave local authorities
short, Scottish councils have warned, writes Maria

Under the plans, local government spending in Scotland will rise
from £8,123m in 2003/4 to £8,918m in 2007/8 – an
increase of just 9.8 per cent before inflation. Within the plans,
local authorities will also be expected to find almost £250m
in efficiency savings.

While authorities have yet to examine the details of the
three-year plan, Cosla president Pat Watters said the increase in
grant support was “well short of what we wanted and in this
respect it allows us to stand still but not much more”.

Details of individual local authorities’ budgets will be
revealed before the end of the year.

Significant targets published alongside departmental spending
plans include a 25 per cent increase in the numbers of qualifying
social workers and increasing the average number of day’s
training each social worker gets by 10 days per year by March

In Wales, meanwhile, the Welsh Local Government Association said
the settlement for Welsh councils announced this week would leave
them facing “significant challenges”.

WLGA leader, councillor Alex Aldridge, said the 5 per cent
increase in the local government revenue settlement for 2005/6 was
“disappointing”, adding that the association would seek
to ensure services were maintained to current levels “despite
these difficult circumstances”.

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