Edinburgh ‘must cut spending by £150m in four years’

Council warned it will have to make huge cuts to services to balance the books by 2023.

Services face being slashed in Edinburgh. <strong>Pixabay</strong>
Services face being slashed in Edinburgh. Pixabay

Auditors have warned that Edinburgh City Council may have to reduce its spending by £150m in four years.

The council heard from external auditors Scott-Moncrieff during an update on the authority’s financial picture.

When the city council agreed its budget in February, around £33m of services were earmarked for the axe.

The audit report reveals that last year’s budget was only balanced due to one-off savings – while the authority has no “longer-term financial strategy”.

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It adds: “The savings requirement over the four-year period for the framework is estimated to be £134.8m.

“The council also noted that if a similar finance settlement was received, as in 2019/20, the revised savings requirement would be almost £150m.”

Nick Bennett, from Scott-Moncrieff, said “the challenges are ever-increasing”.

He added: “The council has a well-developed medium-term revenue budget framework but there is no longer-term financial strategy.

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“We do raise within the report the fact that only 60 per cent of the savings were achieved in the previous year.

“Given you have some significant financial challenges and a savings plan, it’s very important those savings are delivered.

“Given in previous years that the amount of achieved savings was only 60 per cent, the budget was balanced from savings that were from more central allocations like loan charges.

“They have already been built in so it’s important you keep an eye on achieving those savings.”

A council spokesperson added: “Our revised savings requirement for 2019/20 is £33m, as reported in February following confirmation of the Scottish Government’s financial settlement to the council.”


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