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25.01.18

Auditor voices ‘serious concern’ over finances of Scottish council

Scotland’s auditor has highlighted “serious concern” over the finance situation of Clackmannanshire Council, who is facing having to find £29m worth of savings over the next three years from a £118m annual budget.

The country’s smallest mainland council has high levels of deprivation, a report from the Accounts Commission found, and is one of three local authorities in Scotland that have been identified as ‘at risk’ of running out of general fund reserves within two or three years.

However, it also found that the council worked well with other organisations to identify local priorities and deliver services.

The commission said that strong leadership is now needed to lead the council onto more stable financial ground, following a period of political uncertainty in the area.

“This report is a wakeup call,” warned chair of the commission, Graham Sharp. “Councillors and officers in Clackmannanshire urgently need to work together to make the fundamental changes required to address its financial position, so that it can continue to deliver the key services people depend on.

“This means taking difficult decisions it has put off in the past. But not taking them now is not an option and will only make things worse in the longer term.”

Commenting, council Leader Les Sharp said: "The council faces unprecedented financial challenges:  members and officers will continue our focus on working together to ensure we deliver the best services we can for the community of Clackmannanshire.

"We are confident that we can address the challenges highlighted in this report, many of which are common to all Councils in Scotland."

Top Image: Mario Guti

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