The County You Live, Work And Play
SLC Cuts Put Off
Councillors agreed on Wednesday December 2nd to defer a decision on the proposals which would remove £36.3 million from their budget for 2016/17.
The move was taken by councillors so that the proposals could be considered further and allow feedback from the public.
A meeting of the Executive Committee heard that uncertainty would remain over the funding gap until the Scottish Government told the council what its grant would be for next year.
Committee members agreed that a leaflet should be sent to every household in South Lanarkshire to explain the savings proposals, outlining those which are likely to have the greatest impact on services, and invite comment on them.
A full list of all proposals is also to be made available on the council website at www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/savings
and in all the area’s Q&A offices and libraries.
Residents are being invited to leave comments on a form on the website, or send them to a dedicated email address: email@example.com
Written responses are also being welcomed, including via a feedback form in the savings leaflet. These should be sent to: Savings, Floor 4, Council Offices, Almada Street, Hamilton, ML3 0AA.
The savings package totals £36.27m, but better collection rates of Council Tax could contribute £3m more towards that next year, and another £470,000 in savings was identified as options as part of last year’s budget process.
Another £2.5m could be saved in the council’s borrowing costs, while officers have suggested a further £1.5m could be used from reserves to reduce the savings requirement in 2016/17.
Council leader Eddie McAvoy has already spoken of the tough decisions and painful choices which lie ahead, saying: “The whole public sector is under budget pressure, and the council’s grant from government has suffered real-term cuts in recent years.
“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 council confirmed 400 jobs are under threat including classroom assistants, community wardens, grounds maintenance staff and day care workers. Education is set to be worst hit, with 190 job losses and cuts of nearly £7m.
This will include 126 support roles, including classroom assistants, saving £2m.
A further 27 jobs will be scrapped in integrated children’s services, with 24 going in youth learning services.
While school meal prices increased in 2014/15 to £1.50 it is proposed the meal prices increase once again to £1.60 per meal. Social work will see 72 jobs go.
Other proposals include the closure of a popular learning disability cafe that helps young people find work. The Coalyard Tearoom, kitchen and laundry based in Caledonian Road, Larkhall – a project run in partnership between the council, Motherwell College and the community – helps those with additional support needs learn skills which will prepare them for employment, as well as develop skills for everyday living.
The young people access the project from school, college or by a social work referral.
The proposal has angered thousands who have used the facility since it first opened its doors in 2000.