15 February
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Over the past 15 years, Scottish Government Grant funding has been insufficient to meet the increasing costs and demands for services. 80% of the council's budget comes from the Scottish Government.

West Lothian Council has delivered savings of over £150 million between 2007/08 and 2022/23.

The Leader of West Lothian Council has warned that local authorities are facing more uncertainty in the years ahead with more reductions forecast.  

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said:

"Scottish councils have been chronically underfunded for many years now and we all find ourselves with prolonged and significant challenges.

"Tough decisions have been forced upon us.

 "We have navigated the council through extremely challenging times as we reach the last year of our five-year financial strategy.  Looking ahead, initial budget scenarios for 2023/24 to 2027/28, which have been updated following the publication of the Scottish Government's local government finance settlement and they indicate a higher estimated five-year gap of £45.7 million.

"That's another potential £45.7 million taken out of West Lothian's local services. It's a huge blow for local government in Scotland, for West Lothian Council and for local services.

"West Lothian Council is a council that has robust financial planning in place. Our approach to financial planning is not only regarded as being best practice in Scotland, it has allowed us to manage many budget reductions, and help us deliver important local services."

"We need to plan for an extremely challenging financial position over the next five years, should any budget underspends be realised in 2021/22 or 2022/23 these will be retained until the council considers the next five-year financial plan at the budget setting meeting early in 2023.

"The Council will now look to prepare a priority-based revenue financial plan for 2023/24 to 2027/28 and set out how the Corporate Plan priorities will be delivered over this period, always aiming for the best possible outcomes for the communities in West Lothian."

Notes to editors:

A council tax increase of 3% for all Bands has been approved.  This equates to an extra 74 pence per week for a band D property.  If we were to have frozen council tax, we would have had to reduce spending on local services by a further £2.7 million in 2022/23 and this would have had further implications for future years.

However, the Scottish Budget Bill approved on February 10th confirmed funding of £280 million to provide £150 to every household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in any Band and to provide £150 to all other occupied households in Bands A to D. This means 1.85 million households, or 73% of all households, will receive financial support through their council tax bill or a direct payment.

A Band D property in West Lothian will therefore pay £2.15 per week less for council tax in 2022/23.