William Eichler 25 January 2018

Watchdog warns of 'serious concerns' over Clackmannanshire's finances

Watchdog warns of 'serious concerns' over Clackmannanshire's finances

Scotland's smallest mainland council must take ‘decisive action’ to find nearly £30m in savings over the next three years, auditors say.

A report by the Accounts Commission published today complemented Clackmannanshire Council on demonstrating best value in the delivery of services.

However, the auditors warned the authority would run out of general fund reserves within three years if they continued to spend at the same rate they have in recent years.

The council must find savings of £29m over the next three years out of an annual budget of £118m, the auditors said.

The report recommended ‘strong leadership’ and ‘close working’ between councillors and officers to resolve Clackmannanshire problems. It also said the council should seek external support.

‘This report is a wake up call,’ said Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission.

‘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.’

Council leader Les Sharp said: ‘The council faces unprecedented financial challenges: members and officers will continue our focus on working together to ensure we deliver the best services we can for the community of Clackmannanshire.

‘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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