North Lanarkshire Council proposing to axe 1,095 posts

image captionNorth Lanarkshire Council is to consult with the public, staff and unions on its savings proposals

North Lanarkshire Council has outlined proposals to cut 1,095 full-time posts in a bid to save £68.3m over the next two financial years.

Councillors will be asked next week to accept measures to save £22.7m - resulting in 23 post reductions.

They will also be asked to approve a consultation on savings of £45.6m, resulting over 1,000 post closures.

The council warned of "consequences for the vital services" and said it would look to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Council leader Jim McCabe said: "We continue to face a real-terms cut in the money made available to us by the Scottish government and so we have no choice but to find more savings on top of the £110m we've been forced to save in the last five years.

"Many of the options to save this kind of money are extremely unpalatable and will have real consequences for the vital services we provide to the people of North Lanarkshire.

"They will also have a real impact on our employees, who work so hard to provide those services."

'Not decisions'

Councillor McCabe said that if the consultation on cuts was approved it would run throughout November, with feedback provided in January to councillors before the budget was set in February.

He added: "It's important to stress that these are options for consultation and not decisions.

"Those will be made once we have analysed all the feedback from residents, employees and trade unions.

"We are committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies and will do everything we can to deal with reductions in staffing through voluntary redundancy, early retirement and redeployment."

Councillor McCabe also said that the authority was "committed to ensuring that we are still able to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities".

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Despite cuts of nearly 10% to the Scottish budget from the UK government, local government has been treated very fairly by the Scottish government and protected from the worst impact of UK cuts.

"Local government finance settlements have been maintained over the period 2012-16, with extra money for new responsibilities and, as a result, the total settlement in 2015-16 now amounts to over £10.85bn."

'This is devastating'

He said North Lanarkshire Council received its "fair share" of more than £667m this year.

The spokesman added: "The later than expected 2015 UK Spending Review publication means we will not know what Scotland's block grant is until late November, although it is clear we face significant further austerity over the coming years.

"Scottish ministers will publish spending plans following the UK Spending Review."

John Young, North Lanarkshire Council steward for the trades union Unison, said: "This is devastating for everyone living in North Lanarkshire and once again it is the low paid and vulnerable, including children, elderly and disabled people who will be the worst affected.

"North Lanarkshire Council are proposing to cut 10% of the workforce which will cause chaos in our vital public services; £26m will be cut from the local economy; and at least 600 jobs are under threat of privatisation which we will oppose.

"Unison will work with the council to fight every job loss. The Scottish government has promised no compulsory redundancies and at very least we will expect them to stick to that, so far we have not had any guarantees."

Mr Young said the union would be consulting its members and discussing the consequences with people in North Lanarkshire.

Paul Grieve, GMB Scotland organiser, said "This announcement by North Lanarkshire Council to make 1,905 full-time posts redundant is a real body blow to the area.

"The council are using a full-time equivalent figure to mask the actual job losses which will be nearer 2,000 jobs lost in the council.

"GMB Scotland pledge to campaign to save as many of these jobs and services as we can for the citizens of North Lanarkshire."

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