Labour urged to ‘get a grip’ after Glasgow Council admits budget shortfall

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by a Newsnet reporter 

Opposition politicians have reacted with concern to the news that Labour controlled Glasgow City Council will be forced to access emergency funds in order to cover shortfalls this year.

The council has admitted that shortfalls in this financial year means they will have to access contingency funds after efficiency targets were not met.

Officials at Scotland’s largest local authority had budgeted for £5 million savings over two years,  £1.5m this year and £3.5m in 2012-13.  These were to be achieved using reforms to services that included changes to staff terms and conditions.  The £1.5m shortfall will be met from the Council’s “Service Reform Contingency Fund”.

Commenting on the news, SNP Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Allison Hunter said: “The news that the Council will fail to make its savings target for this financial year tells a tale of poor financial management.

“At this year’s budget meeting the SNP called for a full review of the Council’s finances to ensure a stable future in these difficult times for council budgets.  Labour confidently predicted that savings would be found this year and it is this which has brought today’s revelation.”

Ms Hunter claimed that the admission has left Council employees and Unions worried about what the impact will mean and added:

“Employee annual leave and holiday entitlements are in question, as well as support to staff for disclosure checks vital for their work.  How can employees be confident in the administration and how can Glasgow citizens be reassured that the difficulties today will not become worse next year?

“It really is time for Labour to get a grip of this situation and steer the Council’s finances back to a more stable position”

Almost two thirds of the £10m fund has been allocated to date.  The additional drawing down of £1.5m will leave only £2.1m of the Service Reform reserve for the rest of the financial year to April 2012.