Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson said that yesterday's announcement of £21million budget cuts was a 'sad day' for the region.
The cuts will mean a loss of 250 jobs at the council alone, with many more expected in other organisations.
Councillors turned to cutting a pack of cards to settle the final vote at the lengthy meeting.
Four separate budgets had been proposed, but after a tied vote following abstentions and council leader Ronnie Nicholson declining to use his casting vote, the decision was made by cutting a pack of cards.
The council say the savings are needed to bridge a gap in funding as a result of a 4.5% cut in the council's grant by the Scottish Government.
“There is no doubt that making £21.193m of cuts to our Council’s budget was a sad day for Dumfries and Galloway.
"The cuts by the Scottish Government are the single biggest attack on local services for a generation. You cannot save in one year £21.1m without impacting on services and these proposals are still very tough. What makes me so angry about having to make these cuts is the fact that the UK Government’s grant to the Scottish Government has actually risen by 0.6% this year but the Scottish Government have still chosen to go ahead with slashing council budgets. They could and should have been avoided by the Scottish Government”
Amongst the proposals rejected by Labour were cuts to winter gritting primary routes, the scrapping of a Taxicard scheme for the elderly and disabled, the scrapping of the gull control scheme and proposals to scrap Instrumental Music Instruction.
The budget also rejected proposals to close a number of leisure facilities such as Hillview Leisure centre, Beechgrove sports Centre, Newington Leisure Center and Castle Douglas Swimming pool.
However, the leader of the SNP Group at Dumfries and Galloway Council accused the Labour Administration of “robbing bairns’ piggy banks”.
“This budget will see Teachers removed from Nursery classes and other childcare providers facing a gloomy year ahead as their contracts have been shrunk or in some cases may disappear altogether”.
“The move to bring children currently in out of region placements in a variety of nationally acclaimed care settings back into Dumfries & Galloway should be supported but at a more modest pace. When you add in this Administration’s cuts to the cleaning budget in schools, despite head teachers’ concerns, and the branding of youngsters leaving the care system or in the Youth Justice system by introducing an easily identifiable pre paid card system.
"Shockingly, they will be the only children in Dumfries & Galloway with a type of pre-paid card to present for bus travel and other services and as such easily identified”.
An increase in council tax by 1.95% is one part of the agreed 2016/17 budget. Leader of the Council says they faced some tough decisions.Read the full story ›
Today is the deadline for people to give their views on how Cumbria County Council can cut £37m from their budget in the next financial year.
The authority is proposing to make savings by closing fire stations and cutting five million pounds from its adult social care bill.
The SNP has criticised George Osborne's budget, saying it continues the Conservative government's "harsh austerity agenda".
They say the budget has been "imposed" on Scotland:
George Osborne’s Tory budget will hit hard working families, the poorest and young people the hardest. He has continued with his harsh austerity agenda - particularly the savage cuts in tax credits. Any increase in the living wage is of course welcome, but the reality is that the good will be undone by the Tory cuts to the incomes of people who can least afford it. And the living wage in Scotland is currently £7.85 - George Osborne is proposing to see it effectively lowered to £7.20.
This Budget was a sermon from the high priest of an austerity cult - taking from the poor and hard working people and giving to the richest. The Tories' cuts in the living standards of young people are particularly severe, including scrapping student grants. The SNP Government will continue to deliver grants for the poorest students in Scotland, demonstrating the benefits of having these powers in the Scottish Parliament, rather than in Tory hands at Westminster.
There were measures which we welcome such as the freeze in fuel duty, but there was nothing in the Budget to encourage innovation or exports.
The UK Government are imposing this austerity Budget on Scotland on the basis of having a single Tory MP north of the border - the electorate in Scotland overwhelmingly rejected austerity at the election by returning 56 SNP MPs, and the Tories secured their lowest share of the vote in Scotland since 1865.
This Budget underlines the need to have economic and welfare powers in Scotland, so that we can build a more dynamic economy to boost tax revenues, and a fairer society where policies benefit the many, not deliver tax cuts for millionaires."
Today's budget has been described as "deeply frustrating" by Cumbria County Council.
The council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Patricia Bell, has criticised the lack of information about local government finance:
The lack of detail in today’s statement by the Chancellor is deeply frustrating. We know that the financial future for local government is bleak. The fact is that year on year since 2010 government has chosen to cut funding to local councils, forcing them to make difficult, and unpopular, decisions. Today he has added little further information, keeping us guessing about exactly where the axe will fall. We now await the Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn.
However, what is clear is that there will be no change in the underlying direction. There will be no let-up in the assault on our finances; while services like education and health will be protected, local councils will continue to be hammered.
Our best estimate before today was that we would have to reduce our spending by at least £80m over the next three years. We have plans for where some of those reductions will be made, but we’re still £55m short. To put that in context, the gap is more than three times the budget for our Fire and Rescue Service and over ten times the budget of our entire library service.
So this will mean continuing to put all our services under the microscope to work out how we can protect our children, support older people and maintain our roads. Improving efficiency remains important; but the savings we can make here won’t come close to what we need. Services are going to change and services are going to stop – important services that the public value. The only question is which ones.
Be under no illusion, what the Chancellor’s Budget Statement means is that the reductions in services over the last four years will accelerate. This council, and what it does, will be radically different in three years’ time. Government has dealt us this hand, all we can do is play it as best we can and minimise the inevitable damage to our county.”
Welfare cuts announced in today's Budget will hit Scotland's poorest people hardest, according to Citizens Advice Scotland.
The charity says more people could be forced into poverty, and have to rely on foodbanks, because of the changes.
It has welcome the introduction of a National Living Wage, but says wider cuts mean many people will be left worse off:
We are very concerned about the impact these cuts will have on the poorest and most vulnerable Scots – many of whom have already been hit hard by the previous welfare reforms. Once again it looks like the burden is falling on those who are least able to cope.
Last year Scottish CAB advisers saw a 71% increase in the number of people who needed to be referred to foodbanks. Our concern today is that these cuts will drive that trend to increase even more.
We of course welcome the move to a living wage economy, but it looks like for most people this will not be enough to off-set the impact of the wider cuts. We note too that the projected minimum wage rise to £7.20 next year still falls short of the Scottish living wage which is currently £7.85.
The freezing of working age benefits for four years is a cut in real terms. And some of the welfare cuts appear to have been focussed sharpest at young people in society - many of whom will be left without adequate support, particularly those who have no families to support them.
Anyone who is concerned about their finances can get expert advice from their local CAB or from our helpline on 0808 800 9060. CAB advice is free, impartial and confidential.”
Conservative MP David Mundell says the Budget will benefit the whole country, and lead to lower taxes and higher wages in Scotland.
The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, who is also Secretary of State for Scotland, has welcomed changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne:
This is a Budget for the whole of the UK. It rewards work, backs aspiration and ensures fairness for taxpayers across the UK. We’re moving towards a lower tax, higher wage and lower welfare economy. And within the welfare system, we continue to protect the most vulnerable.
The economy is growing. We are taking more people out of tax. Jobs are being created. The deficit is coming down. Our economic plan is working.
The UK currently has 1 per cent of the world’s population, but 7 per cent of the world’s welfare bill. That cannot be right and is not sustainable.
Work is the best route to a secure future, and the peace of mind which that brings . We are making sure we have a welfare system which always rewards work, while making sure the most vulnerable are protected.
The National Living Wage is an essential part of the move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society. It ensures that work pays, and reduces reliance on the State topping up wages through the benefits system.
There is no sensible person who suggests the deficit we inherited should not be tackled. Even our opponents agree with us on that. It would be wrong to burden our children and grandchildren – the next generations - with debt run up by previous governments in this generation.
This is part of being a responsible, responsive Government.
The UK Government is committed to delivering the Smith agreement in full, which will make the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.
If the Scottish Government want to spend more they will have the Scottish rate of Income Tax from next year, with even more control over how much you pay in tax coming after that. They will also have wide-ranging powers over welfare payments.
It is now up to them to tell us all how they intend to use those powers.”
But his views have had a mixed response on Twitter, with one SNP supporter taking issue with the idea that it's a "budget for the whole UK".
Conservative MSP John Lamont has welcomed the first Tory-only Budget for nearly 20 years.
He says it'll "reward hard working families in the Borders", and stabilise the UK economy:
I was delighted to hear the measures announced by the Chancellor in his budget. By taking those on the lowest pay out of income tax altogether and introducing a new National Living Wage of £9, the UK Government is rewarding work and allowing those on the lowest incomes to keep more of what they earn.
At a time when household budgets are stretched I know that this will come as real help to many households in the Borders.
The Chancellor has had to take some tough decisions over welfare spending, but these measures will ensure that the UK will finally be doing the responsible thing and raising more money than it spends by 2019.
I’m also pleased with new measures such as the further freeze on fuel duty and the planned reduction in corporation tax, which will both be good for jobs in the Borders."
And the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire has also taken the opportunity to attack the SNP-dominated Scottish government:
Like their plans for Full Fiscal Autonomy, the Scottish Government’s attacks on this budget are just not credible.
The Chancellor is taking the tough decisions needed to bring the deficit down and secure the economic future of the UK.
Soon, the SNP is going to have to demonstrate how it will use new fiscal powers and show that it too can make the difficult choices needed to manage tax and spending.”
Scottish landlords could be pushed to raise their rents because of measures announced in today's budget, according to the Scottish Association of Landlords.
The group is worried about the ending of tax deductions for buy-to-let mortgages:
This is a shocking decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer which unfairly discriminates against landlords who provide valuable housing across Scotland. In other businesses, tax is applied on profit, which is as it should be.
Although we welcome other measures in the Budget such as reforms to the Rent A Room scheme which will increase supply of affordable rented accommodation, the decision on buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will essentially be taxed for investing in their businesses, something utterly unthinkable in any other sector.
As a result of this increase cost and risk to landlords, you may see some within the sector feeling they are forced to increase their rent levels which would obviously have a huge negative impact on tenants. The Scottish Association of Landlords have been working constructively with both Shelter and the Scottish Government to find ways of increasing supply to drive down rent levels in hot-spots across Scotland but this decision by the Chancellor potentially takes the legs away from that valuable partnership working.
We will be consulting our members, Scottish MPs and MSPs, as well as the Scottish Government and the third sector to find ways of trying to overturn this decision or, at the very least, to mitigate the damage this could cause to our business and to our customers in Scotland.”