CONCERNS over the impact of the upcoming deep budget cuts at Clackmannanshire Council have been raised at Holyrood.

A motion is being tabled at Scottish Parliament on the "acute financial position" of the local authority by Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley as the setting of the 2018-19 budget looms closer.

The move by the Labour MSP aims to highlight and independent report, the final version of which is to be published by Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission this week.

Mr Rowley fears there will be a "detrimental impact" on services, jobs and the wider community and that the chops will mean the council will not be able to tackle high levels of deprivation and low economic activity in the area.

Moreover, he says the withdrawal of support for local organisations, £167,000 for Clackmannanshire Healthier Lives or £32,000 for Sauchie Active 8 for instance, will be "deeply damaging to the really good work that is currently happening".

MSP Rowley told the Advertiser: "I don't think the government can simply sit back and allow this council to go under but, given the current budget difficulties, it is not clear how they will be able to maintain the delivery of the services and support needed for local people and local communities.

"This is worrying for service users and for the staff who deliver the services. It is their hard work that makes local communities better places to live and work.

"We can't simply let these cuts cause damage to our communities."

Councillor Les Sharp, leader of the SNP administration, acknowledged there are challenging times ahead and stressed his group is "determined to drive through transformational change in the council" – not just in structure, but also in how services are delivered.

Cllr Sharp added that much of the challenges result from austerity measures "caused by Labour " and "inflicted on us by the Tory UK Government since the banking crisis". Then there was the economic downturn, with a the Wee County less resilient than average to take the hit.

The council leader told the Advertiser: "The strains on the budget are exacerbated by the drain of over £7million per annum that we have to find to pay for the PPP on our secondary schools, six per cent of our budget and increasing yearly, this, added to the fact that the previous Labour administration failed to implement existing plans for transformational change within the council, is making this year particularly challenging."

The Audit Scotland report said the council has made progress in reducing staff numbers to drive costs down, but raised concerns over the local authority's ability to attract and retain staff in key areas, for instance qualified and experienced finance employees.

Furthermore, sickness rates at the council remain among the highest in Scotland.

Part of the savings proposals is a 40 per cent cut across management and Cllr Sharp explained the SNP is looking at changing the structure to a more efficient, customer focussed team.

He admitted capacity "may be a challenge", but he is looking to make sure the "right support is in place to deliver our vision".