CASH-STRAPPED Scottish Borders Council faces a £7.2m reduction in its spending power over the next financial year, it has emerged.

Members of the full council will receive details of the local authority’s provisional Local Government Finance Settlement – the finance made available by Scottish Government to spend in 2023/24 – when they meet on Thursday, January 26.

Its revenue settlement amounts to £257,765 million – an increase in real terms of £1.5m compared to that which was made available in the current financial year.

But that increase is set to be swallowed up by inflation, which is soaring at over 10 per cent.

The impact of inflation on the SBC budget is estimated at £8.7m.

Therefore, even with the £1.5m increase, the council will have a reduction in its spending capacity of £7.2m, meaning spending reductions will need to be identified.

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It is against that backdrop that the council is carrying out a public consultation to find out the priorities of Borderers when it comes to spending, ahead of the council budget being set at a full council meeting on Thursday, February 23.

Members at next week’s meeting will receive a report from Suzy Douglas, the council’s acting chief financial officer.

She said: “The settlement provides slightly more revenue resources than we were anticipating, totalling £1.5m when comparing base budget for 2022/23 to the base budget for 2023/24.

“The impact on council budgets of inflation in 2023/24 is estimated at £8.7m, the additional £1.5m will help to partly offset the real terms reduction in the resources available.

“After applying this funding the reduction in the council’s spending power is £7.2m in real terms, this gap will have to be addressed by the council’s budget process.”

Full council will be informed that the finance settlement does not set a cap on the level of council tax that can be set.

To have your say on the council’s budget go to