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NLC Budget Breakdown
Cash-strapped North Lanarkshire Council will axe 287 jobs as part of their brutal £42m budget cuts.
Councillors agreed a one-year budget for 2016/17 at last Thursday’s full council meeting held at the Civic Centre, Motherwell.
It comes only four months after the council agreed to £22m of cuts for the next financial year last October.
Councillors agreed a further £19.5m of savings following the Scottish Government’s local government settlement earlier this month.
A total of 287 full-time jobs will go with 177 of these resulting in current vacancies not being filled. However, within the budget, the council committed to ensuring no compulsory redundancies over the next 12 months.
The council agreed to hike up cemetery charges by almost 40 per cent or £428 from £1246 to £1728, generating an income of £552,000 per year.
And for families school meals will increase by 5.5per cent or 10p, generating £137,000.
Council leader Jim McCabe, in his final budget as leader, described the cuts as “heartbreaking” and accused the SNP of “talking the language of socialism while putting in place a programme of austerity”.
“There is no doubt that some of the cuts we are being forced to make will have an impact,” he added. “However, we carried out the biggest consultation in the council’s history and have tried to reflect the message we received, which was to protect jobs and maintain services for young people and vulnerable people. Make no mistake, this is a budget I would rather not have set. But the scale of the cuts to local government from the Scottish Government are much higher than to other parts of the public sector.
“What I find even more appalling is that, while councils on average have had to endure a 3.4 per cent cut, an area like North Lanarkshire, with the deprivation we have, has its budget cut by 3.9 per cent.”
Some of the savage cuts that will impact on communities, families and individuals across the county include:
42 classroom assistants axed, saving £750,000
Seven posts to go following a review of the janitorial and janitor/cleaning services in eight smaller school, saving £133,000.
20 job full-time job losses in Community and Learning Development, saving £750,000.
All 12 attendance officers removed, saving £292,000
21 posts cut in Early Literacy Posts within the Early Literacy Base, saving £168,000
Six positions axed following review management service, saving £500,000
Earlier this year, it was feared that the council would have to axe up to 1100 jobs as part of their cuts.
SNP Group Leader, Councillor David Stocks, added: “For months,Labour shamelessly circulated scare stories of 1094 redundancies for council workers over the next two years.
“Now they have produced a “no redundancies” budget for 2016-17. They ruthlessly inflicted four long months of alarm and despondency on council employees and their dependants.
“Now they have to explain why 1094 compulsory redundancies of October 2015 have suddenly and magically been brought down to zero redundancies by February 2016.”
The SNP’s proposal to take £6 million from North Lanarkshire’s £12million contingency fund to balance the budget was defeated by the Labour Group.
Other measures in the budget taken included the removal of free fruit in P1 to P3, saving £287,000.
Reducing the opening hours of smaller First Stop shops, from 10am to 2pm in Shotts, Kilysth, Moodiesburn and Viewpark, saving £65,000 with the loss of 3.5 posts. Self-service kiosks will be implemented outwith these hours.
The council will remove Pay Point from First Stop Shops with the lost of four posts, saving £67,000.
Customers will be encouraged to utilise local shops that offer the same service. They will close the municipal bank facility in the Civic Centre with the loss of one post, saving £22,000.
They will hike up cemetery charges from £1246 to £1728, £552,000 per year; increase school meals by 10p or 5.5 per cent generating £137,000
The council refused to increase music tuition fees and opposed cutting the roads maintenance budget charges.
It was feared in November 400 care home workers would be transferred to the private sector.