Job cuts ahead as council plans 20% cuts in services

Children, the elderly and disabled could all be hit by cuts of up to 25% in council spending, a new document has revealed.

Faced by reduced grants from the Scottish Government and with Council Tax levels frozen in recent years, Argyll and Bute Council says it is faced by a funding gap of up to £37.5m.

As ‘an initial step’, plans are now being considered to cut £25m from its budget in the next three years via a ‘Service Choices’ programme.

A meeting in Lochgilphead on Thursday will hear plans to cut 7% from some ‘service packages’ and 20% or even 25% in others – although some areas are exempt and others, such as communications and marketing, will see an increase in spending.

A report says this approach will move away from ‘a salami slicing cut’ and mean the budget can be aligned with priorities – but admits that job cuts are inevitable and the cost of redundancy payments ‘significant’.

Dozens of areas are earmarked for cuts of 20%, including libraries, although the report states: “Given the range of free library services, any reductions would have a disproportionate adverse impact on vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and groups.

“Library branch closures have attracted widespread opposition and national media coverage in recent years.”

Other areas which could face 20% cuts include:

  • Child protection
  • Music tuition
  • Street lighting
  • Piers harbours and ferries, youth services
  • Non-teaching costs in schools
  • Swimming pools
  • Services for addiction
  • Learning disability services
  • Community centres and halls
  • Mental health services

The report, which will be considered by the council’s policy and resources committee, pins the blame on reduced grants from Edinburgh, as well as demographic trends: “The population of Argyll and Bute is falling while the population of Scotland is growing.

“This means that Argyll and Bute will get a smaller proportion of the already reduced funding from the Scottish Government available for local authorities.”

The full report is here (4.7mb PDF file): SERVICE CHOICES

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Council ‘rising to challenge’ of huge spending cuts | The Lochside Press
  2. ‘No options off the table’ as council prepares for painful cuts | The Lochside Press
  3. Council cuts will total at least £21m – and that’s the good news | The Lochside Press

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