BBC Radio Scotland Public Spending Debates: South West
BBC Radio Scotland continues to assess public reaction to the proposed Government spending cuts, with it's series of debates being held around Scotland.
Last night, senior broadcast journalist Willie Johnston chaired the debate held in Dumfries and Galloway, and highlights some of the issues of concern for the councillors and communities below:
South West Public Spending Review - Brigend Theatre, Dumfries
The main focus of the debate was the cuts of more than £50 million pounds facing Dumfries and Galloway Council in the next three years and the impact on jobs and services. The authority will be making the first decisions about where to wield the axe in the next few months and council leader Ivor Hyslp admitted that the total number of job cuts required could be in the order of 800.
The council came under fire for the number of senior managers it employs and - in particular - for the creation of a brand new post of assistant chief executive.
The impact of the cuts on Dumfries and Galloway police was also highlighted. The region's chief constable Patrick Shearer said they were likely to lose around 60 uniformed officers through non-replacement in the next three years as well as a large proportion of vital backroom staff.
Other issues explored included the vulnerability of the economy of Dumfries and Galloway because of the region's high dependence on public sector jobs and relatively small private sector. Gordon Mann of the region's Chamber of Commerce said there was a real danger of the region suffering a "double-dip recession".
The debate was held in front of an audience of around 70 in the Brigend Theatre in Dumfries. The panellists were Conservative Derek Brownlee, Labour's Russell Brown, the SNP's Rob Davidson, Liberal Democrat Sandra McDowall and council leader Ivor Hyslop.