Decisions to follow on the future of Bonnyton House

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Protesters against plans to privatise Bonnyton House are “encouraged” by the latest news on East Ren budget cuts.

ERC proposes selling the Busby facility — the last remaining council care home — as part of its budget savings plan in a bid to meet a £22 million shortfall over three years.

The budget plan was approved last Thursday, with ERC leader Jim Fletcher calling it “a budget for change.

“At a time of reduced funding, it is simply not possible to stand still or look at how things were done in the past.”

But following a 2,007-strong petition handed to ERC by staff, residents and relatives of Bonnyton, the council has agreed to defer a decision on its future, bringing in external auditors to look at alternative proposals.

Campaigner Allan Smillie told The Extra: “We are encouraged that ERC are considering our proposals to maintain and develop Bonnyton.”

“However, I do question why ERC should employ KPMG to check the figures in respect to development — it seems strange they can’t trust their own calculations.

“We will continue the campaign until we achieve a satisfactory outcome.”

Announcing the 2015-18 budget plans, councillor Fletcher pledged “plenty of time to plan and to introduce changes in a managed and sensitive way”.

He added: “Every change will be made with the aim of directing resources to frontline services. In doing so, we accept that it may be better for some services to be provided by someone other than the council.”