2019 set to be the year that Borderers pay more for poorer local services

2019 is set to be the year that people in the Borders are hit with council tax rises as well as poorer local service, local MP John Lamont has warned.

Now he is calling on politicians from all parties to put aside political differences and stand up for local services by opposing a £4.5m cut to Scottish Borders Council’s budget. If this budget is passed by the Scottish Government, the Council are set to be facing an £11m black hole in its finances.

The MP has said that any political representative of the Borders who want to stand up for their constituents needs to make it clear that these cuts should not happen.

In the Borders, Council officials have estimated that the day to day budget is set to be cut by over 2% or £4.6m next year. A briefing paper presented to Councillors last month concluded that this funding settlement “will require increases in the Council Tax, increases in fees & charges and a significant programme of cost reductions in order to balance the budget and protect core services.”

These cuts come despite the Scottish Government’s own pot of money increasing by £950 million, thanks to spending decisions by the UK Government.

John Lamont MP said: “2019 is set to be the year that people in the Borders pay more taxes but get poorer local services.

“Despite their own budget going up, the Scottish Government are imposing both tax rises and council cuts on residents across Scotland.

“Scottish Borders Council are effectively being forced in to a council tax rise and because this won’t even cover the cuts, they will still have to cut local services. That means less money for our roads, for our schools and for support services.

“Any elected councillor, MSP or MP who claims to want what is best for the Scottish Borders needs to be opposing these cuts. To lose £4.5m from the day to day budget, after budgets have been squeezed in recent years is going to have a real impact on local services.”