Is it capital punishment?

Glasgow city council’s leader Gordon Matheson slammed the Scottish government budget which he says will leave Glasgow “£13-million worse off”.

At Holyrood yesterday, John Swinney outlined a spending review which confirmed a five-year freeze in council tax, and protected health budgets.

The finance secretary said he expected all local authorities to contribute “efficiencies”.

The Labour councillor told The Extra: “The £13 million is on top of the £42m we have already had to save in next year’s budget — thanks to Mr Swinney’s decision to bail out Edinburgh and take money from Glasgow to pay for the Forth Road Bridge.

“This spending review does not delivers a fair deal for this city.

“How can he justify taking millions of pounds from the city that is the powerhouse of the Scottish economy in order to bail out a failed trams project in Edinburgh?”

Mr Matheson believes councils have been left high and dry by promises of a council tax freeze for the next five years.

He added: “He has not set aside a penny for local authorities to help carry that burden. That means there is a £7.8m gap in funds this city needs to fund our priorities of education, job creation and care of the vulnerable”.

However, Langside’s SNP councillor James Dornan think it’s time Mr Matheson “stopped looking for someone else to blame and started doing work for the people of Glasgow”.

“Can I remind Mr Matheson that the trams fiasco was one of Labour’s making and not the SNP members, who voted against it.

“Did his Labour colleagues think of Glasgow when they voted through this white elephant project out of political spite?”.

Mr Swinney told MSPs: “This spending review contains tough choices because of the cuts from Westminster that go too far, too fast.

“We have had to restrict pay costs, reluctantly implement pensions increases on public sector staff, and maximise the income gained from asset sales.”

The budget has also come under fire from East Renfrewshire council leader Jim Fletcher.

He told The Extra: “If the minister wants local government to fund a further council tax freeze, we would expect it to be fully funded rather than the cost being borne by our essential frontline services.

“If we are also expected to use capital borrowing powers we would also look for any additional costs we incur to be reimbursed by the government”.