The County You Live, Work And Play
EK Residents Can Have Their Say
South Lanarkshire Council Leader Eddie McAvoy
Residents in East Kilbride will be able to have their say on brutal council cuts being made next year. The Executive Committee was told last week as much as £36.27m in savings might need to be found.
Uncertainty remains over how much of a grant cash-strapped South Lanarkshire Council will receive from the Scottish Government for 2016/17.
400 jobs are set to be shed with classroom assistants, community wardens, grounds maintenance staff and day care workers under threat. Education is set to be worst hit, with 190 job losses and cuts of nearly £7m. And, it could be a case of bah humbug for East Kilbride residents next year with the town’s Christmas lights also set to be axed.
While the council’s annual budget is around £677m, those predicted savings come on top of £90m worth of savings made in the last few years.
Committee members have agreed to take time to consider the number of proposed savings prepared by officers.
Councillors are expected to discuss the proposals again on December 2nd.
Council Leader Eddie McAvoy urged South Lanarkshire residents to have their say on the budget proposals, through a dedicated email address email@example.com
Cuncillor McAvoy said that every saving presented a painful choice so it was right for elected members to take the time to consider them fully. He said: “The whole of the public sector is under budget pressure, and the council’s grant from government has suffered real-term cuts in recent years.
“We don’t expect Ministers to tell us what our grant will be for next year for several more weeks, and we hope it will be a better deal than we fear. But officers have developed plans based on the potential savings we might be forced to make.
“I would stress that these are just options at the moment and that councillors now have an opportunity to examine them fully and make their own suggestions.
“But we are legally obliged to balance our budget so the challenge to all councillors is that if we reject any proposals in the package we need to find other, fully-costed, ways to save the money.
“The bottom line is that some tough decisions will have to be taken in these difficult economic times, but we will do everything possible to protect key frontline services.”
The Executive Committee was told that the total savings requirement for 2016/17 might be £36.27m, but that a package of measures could reduce that figure to £28.8m.
While Council Tax remains frozen, better collection rates meant £3m more than expected in income is anticipated from that source next year. Another £470,000 in savings is expected as a result of decision taken last year for the 2015/16 budget.
The report to elected members also noted that £2.5m could be saved in the council’s borrowing costs next year, and that a further £1.5m could be used from reserves as a temporary measure to reduce the savings requirement in 2016/17.
Mr McAvoy welcomed the measures to reduce the savings requirement, but said that difficult choices still lay ahead.