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REFORM ESTIMATES EMERGE DESPITE COSLA BOYCOTT

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The first estimates of the costs of local government reorganisation next year have emerged from figures submitted t...
The first estimates of the costs of local government reorganisation next year have emerged from figures submitted to the government by councils in Scotland.

Despite the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' policy of non co-operation over structure reform, six regional councils and 21 districts responded to a Scottish Office request for 1994-95 spending estimates.

The figures reveal enormous variations. Tayside RC has put its case for an extra £4.3 million spending, while Dumfries and Galloway RC claims it will need just an extra £260,000. Overall estimates from district councils were lower than the £11.8m figure submitted by the six regions, the Scottish Office confirmed this week.

Tweeddale DC said it anticipated no extra spending at all.

On publishing its proposals for 28 new unitary authorities north of the border, the Scottish Office put estimated transitional costs at between £120m and £196m. The bulk of these are expected to relate to redundancy payments.

Fife RC stressed its figure of £3m was a very rough estimate of which about £1.3m related to staffing. Another £1m was earmarked for computer systems.

Borders RC said the bulk of its £750,000 estimate related to planning for elections to the new council in April 1995 and to preparing recommendations on service delivery.

Dumfries and Galloway put its costs at £260,000. This mainly reflected provisions for additional staff. The costs of electing the new council and new financial systems, the bulk of which would fall in 1995-96, were specifically excluded, said director of finance Ian Stewart.

'We were fairly realistic and took the view that a lot of management effort in 1994-95 would come from existing resources', Mr Stewart said.

Strathclyde, Central and Lothian RCs followed COSLA's policy of non co-operation.

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