SHADOW Scottish Minister for Local Government and MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Alexander Stewart, is 'concerned and anxious at the threat of hundreds more council jobs being lost as a result of the SNP Scottish Government’s mismanagement of Scotland’s finances'.

Mr Stewart said: “Last month’s Scottish draft Budget showed that councils in Fife and Tayside, for example, will see their 2018-19 funding for day-to-day running cut by around £23 million".

Fife Council will declare its budget in February and there have been concerns expressed by trade unions about possible job losses.

Mr Stewart described the situation as 'disastrous news considering there has already been an overwhelming 13% drop in the local government workforce across Perth & Kinross, Fife and Tayside since 2008'.

The Shadow Minister for Local Government said that council employees were clearly being penalised by a budget that they have no control over, which shows the clear human cost of SNP Scottish Government cuts.

However, Scottish Finance Minister Derek MacKay, said when he presented his Budget: "Throughout our discussions I have made clear my desire to treat Local Government fairly and I believe this budget does so.

"I know that local authorities have been concerned about a possible cut to their budgets of around £300 million.

"However, as a result of the decisions that underpin this budget, I have been able to avoid this.

"I can announce that the local government resource budget will be protected in cash terms and the capital budget will be increased in real terms - resulting in a total increase in local authority core funding of £94 million.

"In addition, Local Authorities have the option to increase the council tax by up to 3%. If they choose to do so, they will raise an additional £77m, which would secure a real terms increase in local government funding.

"Local government will also be the beneficiaries of the doubling of investment in City Deals".

But Mr Stewart added: "A Council’s ability to deliver long-term, high quality and sustainable services rests very heavily with its employees and having a stable workforce.

"With these further impending cuts, their ability and confidence to implement services will be heavily compromised.

"In the roll-out of his budget proposal to Parliament, Derek Mackay described his cuts to councils’ spending as ‘fair’ which I dispute because although in real terms, the budget has increased with the UK Government’s block grant set to increase in real terms by 1% over the next three years the SNP Scottish Government has poured away the same amount of money again into its vanity projects such as Baby Boxes and the Named Person Scheme.”

Mr Stewart concluded: "If this is considered to be fair, then we know precisely whether or not to believe any more of their sales pitch as the SNP continues to squeeze Local Authorities, Health Boards and the Education Sector until their eyes pop.

"It just goes to show that under the SNP we pay more, but get far less in return.”