Cuts watch: Glasgow and the West
- 11 October 2010
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
The consequences of cutting the UK's budget deficit are expected to be felt at every level of the public sector, including the services performed by Scotland's 32 councils.
BBC Scotland's news website asked local authorities in the Glasgow and the West region how they thought they might be affected. Check out what they had to say.
ARGYLL AND BUTE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 90,040 in 2009. The authority employs 4,284 people.
Budget: Budget for 2010-11 is £277.6m
Funding squeeze: The council expects funding cuts of about 12% in real terms over the next three years, resulting in a budget shortfall of between £9m and £13m each year for the next three years.
The authority has set a target to make savings of 15%.
Options for savings: The council has offered all staff the option to volunteer for redundancy and said vacant posts would not be filled.
All services are currently undergoing a review to identify efficiencies.
The council said that it had not closed any schools due to the spending squeeze, however, it added that every service, including education, was currently conducting a review to identify opportunities for alternative service delivery, performance improvement and cost efficiencies.
The authority said that no proposals would be made until the reviews had been completed.
Argyll and Bute Council had been involved in a joint project to build a new £8m health centre for the islands of Mull and Iona, but fears were raised it would fall victim to capital spending cuts.
However, earlier this month the Scottish government indicated that it would go ahead.
EAST AYRSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 120,210 in 2009. The authority employs 6,500 people.
Budget: £340m for 2010-11.
Funding squeeze: Council is planning on the basis of real terms cuts of £35m over the next three years.
Options for savings: For some time, council departments have been filling only essential vacancies and any staffing reductions will be carefully planned and based on business need.
Charges for council-run services have been increased by 3%, in line with the assumption for inflation within the budget process.
The council is reviewing its charging policy in general, including those services which are currently free.
It has no current plans to close schools due to budget constraints.
The authority announced earlier in the year its plan to close Crossroads Primary, near Kilmarnock.
In setting the budget for 2010/11, councillors agreed to use £2m of reserves to address the immediate impact of the severe winter weather on the roads infrastructure.
There is no plan to turn off or dim street lights in order to save money on energy.
EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 104,680 in 2009. The authority employs 4,973 people.
Budget: £248m for 2010-11.
Funding squeeze: The council currently anticipates savings in the region of £10m or more over each of the next two years.
Options for savings: The authority expects to reduce is staffing level by 250 posts during 2010/11 and it believes employee numbers will continue to reduce by 200 per annum for the next three years.
A council spokesperson said the opening hours of some small community libraries was under review and that the mobile library service had been removed for the rest of the financial year.
Five public halls are being considered for community management and a number of charges for services have been reviewed and revised in recent years, while taking account of the "reasonableness of the charge and ability to pay".
For example, charges for social work clients are means-tested.
The council did not anticipate reductions to street cleaning or bin collections, but it added that it was always looking for opportunities to improve services.
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 89,240 in 2009. The authority employs 3,938 people.
Budget: £226.6m for 2010/11.
Funding squeeze: A budget gap between 2011 and 2014 of approximately £32m.
Options for savings: In its online council news magazine the authority said: "There will be a requirement to reduce our workforce by 10% - equivalent to approximately 400 jobs."
It has been making the cuts - so far, 120 posts giving £2m in savings - through voluntary redundancies and reduced working hours.
It added: "The council can only achieve the budget savings required if we employ less people; use fewer buildings; maintain a smaller fleet and purchase fewer services and supplies.
"Regrettably some of our non-statutory services - the services we are not legally bound to deliver, may cease or be reduced."
The authority said that for the past three years, it had chosen not to increase council tax rates in "order to provide local people with some relief from growing financial pressure". However, it warned that that situation could change in future years.
Size: The population of the council area stood at 80,210 in 2009. The authority employs 4,668 staff.
Budget: £208mfor 2010/11.
Funding squeeze: The council estimates a funding cut of £33.7m over the next three years.
Options for savings: Staff numbers have reduced by approximately 100 since March 2009.
The council said: "It is inevitable that despite our best efforts there will be fewer employees delivering fewer services directly to customers.
"We are currently reviewing all aspects of our business to identify which services will be affected and the implications for employees."
It said no libraries or museums had been closed and the running of sports centres was managed by Inverclyde Leisure.
The council said it had not increased any charges by more than inflation and it would review all charges as part of the ongoing budget process.
It has no plans at present to reduce the roads or the winter maintenance budget. It added that there was a significant one-off investment (£400,000) to repair damage caused to roads and footpaths by the severe weather over the last winter.
Inverclyde has no plans to "reduce street cleaning or bin collections at this stage although all services are under review".
GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 588,470 in 2009. The authority employs 24,000 people.
Budget: Total net expenditure of £1,603.522m.
Funding squeeze: The authority now expects to have to save a total of £115m between 2011 and 2013.
Options for savings: Scotland's largest council has held the council tax steady since 2006 - two years before a Scotland-wide freeze took effect.
But it was also the first authority to say publicly that raising the tax next year should be a realistic option at its disposal.
Glasgow was already well on the way to cutting its payroll by 2,800 through various voluntary measures. But its savings plans were given a new urgency after the council revealed it would probably have to save money more quickly than first anticipated.
This year saw tough choices - some small libraries were closed and the opening hours at some small museums were reduced. But the council readily admits the decisions over the next few years will be harder.
Specific options for 2011 have yet to be announced. But, in general terms, the council has said there would have to be reductions in services which were popular and appreciated or some charges for things which are currently free at the point of use.
NORTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 135,510 in 2009. The authority employs 7,300 people.
Budget: Total budget for 2010-11 at £345m.
Funding squeeze: Based on an assumption of government funding cuts of 12-18% over the next three years and continuation of the council tax freeze, North Ayrshire predicts its budget to stand at £338m in 2011-12 and £330m the following year.
Options for savings: The council is consulting a number of savings in education, including a "rationalisaton" programme affecting four schools in Irvine.
The authority is also considering proposals to increase charges for out-of-school care by 50% from next year. North Ayrshire is one of only three local authorities providing this service, which it does at an annual cost of £921,000.
The council decided to introduce charges for individual school music lessons over and above those provided as part of the curriculum. Tuition will continue to be free for all S3-S6 pupils learning to play an instrument as part of an SQA course, and for all pupils in receipt of free school meals.
A review of sport, leisure and recreation facilities is under way, with the results due in late 2010 and a new charging scheme will be introduced in April 2011, for those in receipt of certain social care and housing support services.
The authority is also reviewing staff terms. Chief officers agreed to forego a 2.5% pay increase for 2010-11 and will instead receive the nationally-agreed rise for administration, profession, technical and clerical staff.
NORTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 326,320 in 2009. The authority employs 18,000 people.
Budget: Annual budget of about £900m.
Funding squeeze: It is aiming to save £70m over the next three years.
Options for savings: Labour is in control of North Lanarkshire but local opposition councillors have often been vocal in their criticism of the administration.
Around 1,100 jobs may go at the authority as it tries to save £70m over the next three years.
Redundancies have so far been voluntary, but the council said it could not rule out the possibility of making compulsory redundancies in the future.
Options being discussed include cutting free school transport to the legal minimum to help save £2m and removing community wardens to try to save £750,000.
It also outlines ways of raising money such as charges for lunch clubs.
Decisions are expected at the end of November.
Size: The population of the council area stood at 169,910 in 2009. The authority employs 8,700 people.
Budget: Net revenue budget for 2010-11 at £420m.
Funding squeeze: The council anticipates a funding gap of between £75m and £90m over the next three years.
Options for savings: The council has asked for residents' views under a consultation entitled, "Difficult Choices for Difficult Times", while staff terms and conditions are on-going issues.
In 2009/10, 300 employees left through voluntary and early retirement, with the figure expecting to rise to 700 in 2010/11 - equivalent to 10% of the non-teaching workforce.
Moorpark Primary closed in June 2010 due to over capacity issues.
Two ageing swimming pools, in Elderslie and Johnstone, will close, although two new pools are being built at Linwood Sports Centre and Johnstone High School.
Charges for a range of services increased by 2.5% in 2010/11.
SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 111,440 in 2009. The authority employs 5,547 people.
Budget: £269m for 2010/11.
Funding squeeze: South Ayrshire Council is facing a £56m shortfall over the next three years, according to Audit Scotland.
Options for savings: A review of services to cut costs includes plans to reduce the overtime bill by creating new posts.
The council has closed one primary school this year, Whitletts, with the poor state of the building given as the main reason.
Several council-run services have seen above-inflation increases in charges - on-street parking has increased from 10p per hour to 80p per hour, off-street parking has gone up from 20p per hour to 80p per hour and commercial waste collection has seen a 12%-rise to ensure costs are recovered.
The authority said it would not speculate on whether it planned to reduce its energy bills by switching off or dimming street lights.
The council said: "Any proposed changes in charges for services which are currently free at the point of use would have to be presented to the appropriate committee for their consideration and it would be up to councillors to make a decision about the charges."
SOUTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 310,930 in 2009. The authority employs 16,000 people.
Budget: £724.7m for 2010/11.
Funding squeeze: The council is currently working on proposals to make savings of £30m a year for the next three years.
Options for savings: So far, 210 posts have been cut and a review of the council's primary school modernisation programme is under way.
A council spokesperson explained: "In light of financial challenges, the executive committee of June 2010 approved a review of the primary schools modernisation programme which was due to see all primary schools rebuilt or refurbished.
"The review is to consider how to best to deliver on the commitment to see every child educated in a modern school environment."
Kings Park Library closed in April 2010, with users directed to Rutherglen library, which underwent a £2m refurbishment.
In, addition there has been some reduction to opening hours across the library service.
The local authority has already approved charging for music tuition and privilege transport.
WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
Size: The population of the council area stood at 90,920 in 2009. The authority employs 6,500 people.
Budget: £249m including requisitions; with next two years predicted to be £255m and £260m in the financial strategy.
Funding squeeze: Cuts unspecified.
Options for savings: A total of 40 employees have already left the council and the current plan for 2010-11 assumes there is likely to be about 140 voluntary leavers.
A review of the library service is currently being undertaken.
There are no plans to cut opening hours of council-run facilities but this may be reviewed in the near future, as will cuts to the roads and winter maintenance budgets, proposals to turn of street lights during the night and reductions to street cleaning and bin collections.
In June, BBC Scotland news asked Scotland's 32 councils 11 questions ranging from how many staff they employed to whether they had to close schools and libraries due to spending cuts. About two-thirds responded over the following months. Of those that did not, a number explained they could not answer the questions until a fuller picture of budgets was known.