Education funding row as Fife Council sets budget

A furious row has erupted between the SNP and the ruling Labour administration of Fife Council after the annual budget was passed today. The SNP contend that one hundred teaching posts will be removed from schools across Fife from August this year and that this will result in bigger class sizes and increased workload for existing staff.

The Leader of the SNP group on Fife Council, Neale Hanvey said “The leader of this administration (David Ross, Labour) makes the preposterous ‘alternative fact’ argument that his £3m cut to education is somehow more beneficial to education than our proposal for education to retain that budget.

This has been an extraordinary process. This administration asked for consensus, but kept their cuts secret. When they were challenged on their planned education cuts, the response was to attack and accuse me of distortion and dishonesty. Disagree with me by all means, but we should all be prepared to argue our respective cases and defend our policy choices.

I think the furious back-peddling and eleventh hour amendment are vindication enough that our challenge was right on target.

Council Tax set to rise

It has been confirmed that Council Tax is to rise by 3% for those in Band A-D and may rise by more for those in Bands E-H, depending on their financial circumstances. This is the first year since 2007 that the Scottish Government has allowed local authorities to increase the Council Tax. The rise was opposed by the Conservative group on Fife Council

Council Leader David Ross said: “This is a challenging time for the Council but we are determined to protect local services as far as we can, although this may mean delivering services in a different way.

Increasing council tax will provide £4.4m at a time when funding cuts for councils across Scotland are more severe than ever.

We cannot pretend that things can continue as they are, but I’m very pleased that, despite the financial challenges, we have still managed to identify some additional funding for projects to tackle poverty and support the most vulnerable people in our community.

The Liberal Democrats expressed opposition to a number of the cuts especially the £1.1 Million reduction in roads maintenance.

Veteran SNP Councillor David Alexander described today’s budget as “The most dangerous and damaging I have ever seen”.