More than 100 jobs at risk under new Moray Council budget proposals

A range of measures to get Moray Council closer to balancing its budget for 2019/20 were debated by councillors this week.

The measures, which are expected to lead to a reduction of over 110 posts across a range of services, include shutting two swimming pools, some libraries and public toilets.

The local authority said the cuts will reduce its budget deficit by approximately £2 million, with work continuing over the coming month to find another £5m to reach a balanced budget position on February 27.

Speaking after the meeting, chief executive of Moray Council, Roddy Burns, said:  “This is the latest phase of a planned approach to the council’s budget.

“Final decisions on these and other service reductions will be made when the council sets its budget on February 27, after consultation with staff affected. Like many other councils in Scotland, Moray Council has to find significant savings in order to fulfil our legal obligation and set a balanced budget. In our case we have to reduce our £214m annual spend by £14.8m for the coming financial year.

“Previously approved savings of £5.9m and a Health and Social Care increase of £1.4m - funded through the local government settlement from the Scottish Government -leaves a balance of £7.4m savings to be found. If approved, the savings proposed in this report will reduce that outstanding total.

“There should be no doubt that most of the proposals are made on purely financial grounds.

“In the main they are not efficiency savings and do not represent levels of service that would be ordinarily suggested.

“However, finding these savings in addition to the £9.7m already agreed and proposed will be a significant challenge for the council.”

Council leader, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, wrote to finance minister Derek Mackay at the start of the year setting out Moray’s financial position.

Areas where efficiencies, service reductions and increased charges proposed include:

  • Closing the remaining public toilets
  • Closing some six libraries and reducing opening hours of others
  • Increasing charges for harbour users by 10%, music instruction to £699, and burial fees for non-residents
  • Removing the remaining school crossing patrollers,
  • Reducing the community warden service, grass and roads winter gritting and maintenance programmes,
  • Charging for out-of-zone school transport,
  • Removing the Active Schools and sports development service, and Essential Skills programme
  • Reduction of Devolved School Management budgets (DSM) and increasing class size thresholds in P2 and P3
  • Relocation of Auchernack Access Point in Forres to Forres House Community Centre
  • Closure of two pools, Keith and Lossiemouth subject to securing increased usage
  • Reduce street sweeping
  • Introduction of new car parking charges in some towns across

Full details are available here.

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