COUNCIL coffers are to get an extra £2.8 million – but vital services are officially still under threat.

A deal between the SNP and Greens in the Scottish Parliament last Wednesday saw a dramatic increase in funding to West Dunbartonshire Council, covering nearly all of the £3m in cuts proposed by council bosses.

It comes on top of the Scottish Government correcting their own figures last week in favour of the council by nearly £467,000. But final numbers and the council’s budget position is still weeks away.

The SNP in West Dunbartonshire said £610,000 of the cash would go into their reserves. They said they would be able to protect local services, but Labour slammed the cuts already made, such as the care of garden scheme and library opening hours. 

The SNP has also been openly critical of funding of external partner organisations such as Antonine Sports Centre, while other groups were not warned in advance their funding could be cut by 12 per cent.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “The Scottish Government has engaged positively with myself and other council leaders, with COSLA, external bodies and other parliamentary groups in Holyrood. 

“I believe this is a fair settlement for local government especially at a time when the Scottish budget is being gutted by Westminster austerity. 

“The Scottish Government has found the right balance of funding for both locally and nationally delivered services and are introducing the most progressive and fair taxation system in the UK.”

The public consultation on £1m in local cuts out of £3m proposed proposed council cuts concluded on January 31.

There is no confirmation on what cuts might still be made, particularly on the Health and Social Care Partnership.

Labour’s Cllr David McBride told the Post: “While it remains to be confirmed exactly what funding we will receive, we know the nationalists in West Dunbartonshire are still cutting library opening hours, care of gardens scheme and vital care services are still at risk.

“The budget deal struck by the SNP and Scottish Greens does not stop Tory austerity, tackle poverty or redistribute wealth or power.

“For the second year running the Green MSPs have backed a Nationalist budget which will leave councils’ lifeline services squeezed.

“The backroom stitch-up by the Greens and Derek Mackay also means the Scottish Government’s budget fails to fund a proper pay rise for council staff and fails to tackle child poverty.

“Despite local government budgets needing £545m to stand still, the ‘deal’ struck only delivers £159m.”

The Greens said they wanted to end the “annual tussle” over budgets to end so local groups and services would not be left with a guillotine hanging over their heads for months of uncertainty.

West Scotland MSP Ross Greer said: “This budget deal is a big win for West Dunbartonshire. For two years in a row the Greens have taken nearly £3m of proposed cuts to our local services off the table and on top of that, this year we have secured a better pay settlement for hard pressed public sector workers, greater action on fuel poverty and the opportunity to radically improve local public transport. 

“Most importantly, this means proposed cuts in West Dunbartonshire, including a 10 per cent reduction in headteachers’ budgets, removing support for swimming lessons and reductions in park maintenance can be ditched.”

Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson added: “Thanks to the decisions made by the Scottish Government, local government will see an above inflation rise in their revenue funding – with West Dunbartonshire Council receiving an extra £2.8 million to spend on local services.

“The Scottish Government has a legal duty to present a balanced budget. The additional funding comes from a combination of changes in taxation and the allocation of underspend, the level of which was not clear when the draft budget was published in December.”