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The County You Live, Work And Play

Jobs Will Be Saved If Councillors Agree A Revised Cuts Package


27/01/15


Over 90 jobs at South Lanarkshire Council will be saved if councillors agree to a revised cuts package.

Around 288 jobs had been expected to go, but 92 positions will be retained if the council decide against a review of home care provision.


A popular Hamilton voluntary service is set to be thrown a lifeline too.


Hamilton Furniture Initiative, which recycles furniture and household items and distributes them to disadvantaged groups and individuals, where one of the groups to be put forward for a funding slash.

The group were set to lose all their funding from the local authority which totals £109,000.

However, councillors are expected to revisit these proposals and approve their funding for 2015/16.

But the organisation have been told to review their business and look to reduce costs of their operation to allow further consideration for funding for 2016/17.


A proposed near 100 per cent charge increase in the price of community alarms is also likely to be scrapped when the executive committee meets.

The price had been set to rise from £1.54 to £3, saving £398,000, but that will no longer happen.

Free transport for primary school pupils if they live more than a mile away from their school, will be maintained rather than changing it to two miles. However, secondary pupils will now need to be outwith the statutory three miles to be eligible.


Christmas lunch grants for community groups will be scrapped, saving £200,000.

Key services will continue to be affected, with the total cuts coming to £18.3m.

Extra funding of £900,000 will come from additional council tax, landfill tax and education capital.

A shortfall of £754,000 will be used from the centrally held budget for meeting loan charges, although this will happen on a one off basis for 2015/16.

The papers for the key meeting were released.


Other changes to the cuts package are:

●Removing alterations to festive lighting from the package which would have saved £57,000


● Meals on Wheels charge rising from £2 to £2.50, rather than the original £3, saving £15,000. This will rise to £3 in 2016/17


●Increase in charge for Lunch Club from £2 to £2.50 rather than £3, saving £11,000. Again, this will rise to £3 in 2016/17


When the paper goes to committee, members will also be told the council could face further pressure in 2016/17 from increases in teacher’s pension contributions. This year’s Government grant also included an additional £10m for free school lunches, but if uptake is above 75 per cent, the council will need to make up the shortfall.


Council leader Eddie McAvoy said: “We’ve been able to keep some of the charges down and we’ve given others a year or two to sort themselves out. Meals on Wheels, for example, we’ll now save over two years rather than one.

“Community alarms are essential to vulnerable people who depend on them for their own security.

“We’ll keep the school travel for primary schools as it is and change it for secondary schools. We know it’s difficult for people and we accept that, but we need to find the money from somewhere.

“In terms of Christmas meal grants, we introduced it in 2000 when we had the money, but we have warned about them in the past.”