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SCOTLAND’S two largest councils voted through more than £100 million of combined cuts despite warnings of hundreds of job losses and the decimation of public services.
Councillors in Glasgow and Edinburgh met today to set budgets for the two cities, with a strong presence from trade unions in both chambers.
Both authorities were forced to make tens of millions of pounds of savings, with diminished settlements for local government in Scotland for the coming year and further cuts expected over the following two.
In Glasgow, all political groups were asked to close a near £50m spending gap with the minority SNP administration needing the support of at least one other party to pass their proposals.
The city government put forward a raft of cuts to services, which trade unions claim will lead to the loss of 300 jobs, with council tax also raised by 4.64 per cent this year.
Labour councillors hit out at the budget outlines from the SNP, which they say would disproportionately affect poorer communities.
An eleventh hour deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens in Glasgow was reached, with the administration agreeing to a climate deal.
Trade unions have expressed a profound concern about what this budget will mean for Glasgow.
Unite union’s Wendy Dunsmore said the cuts would have a “devastating impact on service provision” and and put “further pressure on an already stretched workforce.”
Rhea Wolfson of GMB Scotland was also critical, hitting out at the “lack of transparency” during this year’s budget process.
In Edinburgh issues with funding for public services were also raised, with the Educational Institute of Scotland’s Alison Murphy telling councillors of her anger at the effect the proposed budget could have on the city’s schools.
Ms Murphy added: “They will cause profound generational impacts for our city’s children.”
The council said it needed to save £87m over the next three years.
Labour councillor Gordon Munro refused to vote for his own party’s budget due to the cuts included, while his Glasgow colleague Matt Kerr walked out of the chamber ahead of the council’s vote.
Despite the budget agreements, local authority body Cosla said it still hopes to see further funding given to councils as financial situations in Holyrood and Westminster progress.
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