THE Scottish Government has reduced its cut in funding to East Lothian Council from £2.04million to just over £800,000 after a “recalculation” of its sums.

New figures reveal that the council will receive more cash than it was previously told to expect in this year’s budget.

However, Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute council leader, warned that the council was still looking for ways to deal with a £5.3million shortfall in funds to provide services over the coming year.

The council’s minority Labour administration had produced a draft version of its proposed budget for the next three years, with the suggested savings based on a £2.04million shortfall in Scottish Government funding.

It included a number of unspecified service reductions, including a £200,000 reduction in nursery staff provision, with a further reduction of £350,000 the following year. The council has insisted no final decisions have been made.

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And on nursery provision, a spokesman said: “The draft budget contained a proposal to review wider nursery staffing provision. It’s important to stress that no decisions have been made at this stage. We are exploring different staffing models to, for example, enable our nurseries to extend hours and open outwith the school term. Such staffing models already exist in many other areas across Scotland – so East Lothian wouldn’t be taking a different approach from other areas. We expect this will provide new opportunities for people working in or interested in childcare as a career.”

The Scottish Government said it recalculated the awards to each local authority and adjusted them accordingly, insisting it was standard procedure each year.

Mr Hampshire said the revised funding from the Scottish Government was now being looked into; however, the local authority was still waiting for the final Scottish Government budget to be confirmed at the end of this month and is still facing major challenges.

He said: “I welcome the recalculation of the settlement figures. This work has identified that East Lothian’s grant was short of £1.2m to support our services. However, the council still needs to deal with £5.3m of service reductions in this year’s budget.”