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SCOTTISH AEFs: ESSENTIAL SERVICES AT RISK SAYS COSLA

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Essential services and jobs have been put at risk by the government's financial policies, COSLA's senior vice presi...
Essential services and jobs have been put at risk by the government's financial policies, COSLA's senior vice president Keith Geddes said today following the announcement of spending levels for individual authorities.

'As more detailed information emerges from the Scottish Office, we see the bleak picture which we predicted fully developing,' he said. 'Councils across Scotland are faced with tightening their belts to an extent which will be detrimental to services and mean job losses.'

He continued: 'Existing councils have not been profligate in their spending, rather they have spent wisely, concentrating on providing comprehensive, high quality services to their citizens.

'The new councils have consistently maintained that they are committed to following this lead, but with such severe spending restrictions being forced on them they will find realising such ambitions extremely difficult, if not impossible.'

And he identified a further problem which will affect the new councils: 'The cost of repairing damage resulting from the recent severe weather conditions will also fall to councils and will ultimately become another financial problem fo the new authorities unless, of course, central government provides extra support.'

Cllr Geddes described the Scottish Office's demands on local government as unrealistic, adding: 'We believe that in the first year of operation, the new councils should be given every opportunity to establish themselves as good service providers, not be forced to scrimp and scrape to provide just a basic service.'

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