Hobson’s choice for SBC package

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scottish Borders councillors will decide today, Thursday, December 16, whether to accept the Scottish Government funding package which would include agreement to freeze Council Tax for a further year - although in reality it’s Hobson’s choice.

The funding would result in a £6.2 million drop in revenue funding and a £1.15 million drop in capital grant funding, and the council will also have to agree to the four main conditions set by the SNP Government.

These are: a Council Tax freeze; maintenance of police officer numbers; continuing commitment to free personal/nursing care; and the maintenance of early years pupil/teacher rations.

Outlining the impact to the region, council officers say: “The package of measures agreed between COSLA and the Scottish Government will result in a drop in revenue funding provided to local authorities of 2.5 per cent in cash compared to 2010/11.

“Each individual local authority must formally agree to all of the commitments contained within the package by December 21.

“Failure to accept the conditional offer will result in a 6.4 per cent reduction being applied.

“Should the council fail to agree the conditional offer with the Scottish Government, it will suffer a cut in revenue funding of 6.4 per cent.

“In financial terms, in a time of significant financial pressure on the council, the conditional offer of a 2.6 per cent funding reduction is considerably more attractive.”