Decision time on budget cuts

editorial image
0
Have your say

Budget proposals go before East Renfrewshire council today (Thursday) after months of consultation with worried residents.

East Renfrewshire Council propose cutbacks as the result of a three-year budget shortfall — originally estimated at £20 million, and this week revealed at £22 million.

The savings proposals, released in November, caused panic among residents 
with up to 200 council job losses and cuts to services forecast.

This week, ERC leader Jim Fletcher promised no compulsory redundancies for the next financial year, and “smarter working to bridge the gap without impacting on frontline services”.

He told The Extra: “We tried to listen to what people have said to us. We want to maintain our good reputation, and this prudent budget will help us to do that.”

Responses showed the top concerns include the sale of Bonnyton House — ERC’s last remaining care home — changes to school management and libraries, increased class sizes and the removal of campus cops from schools.

Bonnyton’s fate remains up in the air as the council commissions an appraisal of plans put forward by 2,007 petitioners — an ERC spokeswoman said that no sale would take place for two years, “but we are bearing in mind that staff and families need closure.

“There may be services that can be better delivered by someone other than the council.”

A reduced number of campus cops will be retained, jointly funded by Police Scotland, and plans to review school library and class sizes have been pushed beyond 2015/16.

Carers who use day services at Thornliebank and Barrhead resource centres had voiced concerns over a proposal to merge the two — the amended budget pledges no closures for the moment, with decisions to be made in 2016/17.

Councillor Fletcher promised further opportunities in supported employment, and commented: “We are not in any way cutting this service — but we have exciting plans over the next few years to find better ways of delivering the service, which we should be doing on an ongoing basis.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts for next week’s paper by email (address above) or by finding us on Facebook (/ExtraSouthside) or Twitter (@ExtraSouthside).