COUNCILLOR David Ross, Labour Co-Leader of Fife Council has made an 11th hour appeal to the Scottish Government in advance of the Scottish Budget statement due today, to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) claim for fair funding for vital local services.

Cllr Ross has issued draft budget proposals from the Labour Group on Fife Council, setting out how it would use the additional funding of £32m COSLA’s desired funding settlement would bring to Fife.

Cllr Ross said: “Local services have been hit year after year by the spending cuts imposed on councils by the Scottish Government. "We know at root the austerity policies of the Tory Government in Westminster are to blame, but the Scottish Government has chosen to pass these cuts on disproportionately to local services provided by Scottish councils. It’s estimated that local services have borne the brunt of 80% of these austerity cuts.

“COSLA has made a request to Scottish Government for a fair funding settlement this year that seeks to make a start on restoring the cuts in funding for local services that we’ve seen over the past 10 years and more.

“This would bring around an additional £32m to Fife for local services and I have issued Labour’s draft budget proposal for Fife that sets out how we would invest that funding in vital local services".

He added: “We been forced to close libraries because of cuts in our grant from the Scottish Government. We’ve seen cuts in school budgets and in road repairs. Cuts in environmental services and reductions in the opening hours of leisure centres. Growing demands on social care that we’re struggling to meet.

“It’s time these funding cuts were not only stopped but reversed so we can start investing again in these vital local services that individuals and communities in Fife rely on.

“Priorities for investment include children and family services, helping to address the shocking level of child poverty in Fife and across Scotland. Investment in social care and community health services, particularly for our growing elderly population. Investment in education, in roads, in environmental services and economic development and town centres.

“I hope the Scottish Government listens to what local councillors of all political colours are telling them, that our local services are on their knees. It’s time for investment in our vital local services not further cuts.”