A LEADING councillor has warned essential services face being cut in the next two years if investment in core council budgets does not improve.

Councillor Eddie Devine, who heads up the opposition Labour group on Renfrewshire Council, said there are no more savings the council can make and vital services will suffer if the Scottish Government cannot offer up more cash.

Between 2013/14 and 2018/19, government funding for Renfrewshire Council reduced by the equivalent of £130 per head, according to the Scottish Parliamnent’s research service – SPICE.

And Cllr Devine said Renfrewshire Council has, in the last 10 years, faced budget cuts of more than £150million.

The Paisley Southwest representative said one service which could face the axe is brown bin uplifts.

He said: “Renfrewshire Council needs more money. In the last 10 years our budget has been cut by well over £150million.

“There is no more fat to cut. We are now looking, in the next year or two in my opinion, at services being cut.

“I am not talking about savings, it’s cuts to essential services.

“For example, by law the council has to uplift bins, but by law we don’t need to do the brown bin. This may be something which needs looked at.

The Gazette: Cllr Eddie Devine Cllr Eddie Devine

“What people also don’t realise is a lot of the money budgeted is ring-fenced, so we don’t get to spend it, and that makes things very difficult.”

Cllr Devine’s calls for better investment come after COSLA president Councillor Alison Evison said this week communities are losing pride in where they live due to council budgets being at breaking point.

She said: “If the Scottish Government is truly serious about creating sustainable communities then they must provide Scotland’s Councils with a fair settlement as part of this year’s budget.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “We fully appreciate the challenging financial outlook facing all local authorities and have a good track record in improving our efficiency as an organisation while improving the services we deliver to communities, meeting their changing needs in line with our available budget.

“Our financial strategy reviews all aspects of the way we work and the services we deliver to ensure we’re sustainable for the long term and continue to deliver the services many people rely on.”

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