Clackmannanshire council finances 'not sustainable'

Written by Tom Freeman on 25 January 2018 in News

Accounts Commission reports "serious concerns" with finances of Clackmannanshire council

Clackmannanshire - credit Duncan Kirkhope

Clackmannanshire Council must take "urgent and decisive action" to sort out its financial problems, the Accounts Commission has said.

Scotland's smallest mainland council has a budget of £118m but needs to make £29m in savings over the next three years. It has used its reserves to balance budgets.

The Accounts Commission said it had "serious concerns" about the local authority's finances, and called for "strong leadership" from the council which has the SNP as the largest party but without a majority. The council initially had trouble forming an administration. 

 

"The duty of Best Value is the responsibility of the whole council," the report said. "This needs to be fulfilled by members working collectively. Combined leadership between members and officers is also vital."

Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission, said: "This report is a wake up call. Councillors and officers in Clackmannanshire urgently need to work together to make the fundamental changes required to address its financial position, so that it can continue to deliver the key services people depend on.

"This means taking difficult decisions it has put off in the past. But not taking them now is not an option and will only make things worse in the longer term."

Before the 2017 local elections both the SNP then Labour administrations resigned control of the council, and since the election the SNP has run it as a minority administration.

Council leader Les Sharp described the financial situation as "unprecedented".

"Members and officers will continue our focus on working together to ensure we deliver the best services we can for the community of Clackmannanshire," he said.

"We are confident that we can address the challenges highlighted in this report, many of which are common to all councils in Scotland."

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