South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway library closures in cut proposals

Library books
Image caption Seven libraries could be closed as part of the proposals being put before the council

Seven libraries could be closed as part of cuts proposals to be put before Dumfries and Galloway Council.

It is part of a set of measures to be outlined to the authority as it tries to make savings of £20m next year.

Opposition Labour group councillors warned the report to next week's resources committee was just the "tip of the iceberg".

The council has stressed that no final decisions would be made before full council meetings in December.

The report outlines potential savings which could be found in community and customer services.

It proposes merging customer service centres (CSCs) and libraries in four towns - Dalbeattie, Thornhill, Newton Stewart and Lockerbie.

Another CSC would be closed in Lochmaben and an outdoor activity centre at Stronord also axed.

A total of seven libraries could be shut if the plans are taken forward.

They are located in Gatehouse of Fleet, Eastriggs, Lochmaben, Whithorn, Port William, Dalry and Lochside in Dumfries.

The report also suggests cutting staff costs through redundancies or leaving a number of posts vacant.

Community and customer services is the first department to table firm proposals on how it might tackle its savings target.

Labour group spokesman Colin Smyth said it was the shape of things to come from other parts of the authority.

He added: "When you make the scale of the cuts proposed to the public sector, leaving aside the appalling impact on families when the job losses kick in or the loss of services we will see, you are also taking tens of millions of pounds of spending out of the local economy.

"That will impact massively on the local businesses and my fear is, recession will return to towns across our region."

'Detailed report'

The council has stressed that this month's meetings are only one stage of the process of finding savings.

Individual departments will debate the measures before they go before full council in December.

A statement from the authority said: "On 17 or 18 November the Scottish Government Spending Review is due to be published.

"This should make clear how much government grant will be available to local government in 2011/12 and beyond.

"Savings targets in Dumfries and Galloway will need to be adjusted to reflect that information and a detailed report will be presented to full council once detailed allocations to individual councils are clear."

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