FIFE MSP, Alex Rowley, has called on the Scottish Government to end 'the sweeping cuts to local government' and instead deliver a budget that fairly funds local public services.

The Labour MSP wrote to the Public Finance Minister following the delivery of the draft budget for the year ahead at Holyrood last week.

This follows analysis of the budget by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities who claim that despite a cash increase for local government of £495m, additional commitments passed to local authorities from the Scottish Government worth £590m, means that local government faces a cut of £95m to core budgets.

In addition, COSLA states that local government capital funding will face a cut of £117m due the shortfall between increased Scottish Government commitments for local government of £171m and a budget increase of only £54m.

Mr Rowley said: “Local authorities across Scotland are struggling to balance their budgets, and are having to make cuts to local public services. We have seen this first-hand in Fife.

“In education alone last year hundreds of thousands of pounds was stripped from every secondary school budget in Fife. The cuts ran over £1million last year, and more cuts are coming this year as well. These cuts to school budgets in Fife are having a very negative impact and must be stopped."

He added: “Our education system is suffering, and other public services are struggling as well.

"This situation cannot continue, local government needs a fair deal if we are to see the positive changes in our communities that we are seeking to achieve. I have urged the Scottish Government to reverse the sweeping cuts to local government budgets by delivering a fair settlement in the budget".

He concluded: “I understand that the root cause of the crisis in local government funding is failed austerity from the Westminster Conservative Government, and let me be clear I am under no doubt about that, however, the Scottish Government is disproportionately passing on these austerity cuts to local government and it needs to stop.”

There's nothing stuffed down the back, insists stand-in Scottish Government finance secretary Kate Forbes said this week.

She added: "Every available penny is on the face of the budget.

"This is not like previous years. So if opposition parties have more for councils at the top of their list of demands, they're going to have to say where it comes from".