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SCOTTISH COUNCILS GRIPPED BY NEW CASH CRISIS

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The 12 unitary authorities that took over from Strathclyde RC may have inherited a deficit as high as£40m, instead...
The 12 unitary authorities that took over from Strathclyde RC may have inherited a deficit as high as£40m, instead of the maximum£14m they had been expecting, the Scotsman reports (p1).

The discovery will deepen the crisis already facing many of the new authorities. Just before this bombshell, teachers in Glasgow had voted in favour of industrial action against proposed cuts in the city council's education budget. Now the number of jobs threatened in the city could rise from 2,000 to 3,000.

Another of the affected councils, West Dunbartonshire, may have to increase its council tax by 52 per cent.

City of Glasgow Council leader Bob Gould, who was Strathclyde's last leader, said the increased deficit was caused by the need to tackle the winter weather emergency of 12 months ago, and the cost of making large numbers of staff redundant before the new authorities took over.

Gould has now written to Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth demanding an urgent meeting about the financial crisis. 'We simply don't have enough staff prepared to take voluntary redundancy, so most of the 3,000 people would have to be forced to leave', he said.

A further story (p6) describes the anger of local government trade union leaders, at the action taken by some councils in going ahead with official warning procedures for compulsory redundancies without prior warning.

The story says that 10,000 job losses across Scottish authorities are feared.

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