North Lanarkshire Council budget confirms major housing investment and removal of 287 posts

North Lanarkshire CouncilNorth Lanarkshire Council has decided to bring investment in the current housing stock to a quarter of a billion pounds over the next five years and expand its new-build housing programme.

Setting its general services and housing budgets for 2016/17 yesterday, the council said more than 26,000 homes will be improved as a result.

Council tenants will pay just an additional £1.73 per week on average in rent, keeping North Lanarkshire’s rent levels substantially below the Scottish average.

Overall, the council will implement £19.5 million of savings which will see the removal of 287 full-time equivalent posts. Within this there are 177 vacancies, with the remainder to be dealt with through redeployment, voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

Councillor Jim McCabe, leader of the council, said: “This has been a horrendously difficult exercise. We are faced with huge cuts from the Scottish Government and it has been extremely difficult to manage.

“However, we have left no stone unturned in getting to a settled budget for 2016/17 and I am pleased that there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result.

“There is no doubt that some of the cuts we are being forced to make will have an impact. However, we carried out the biggest consultation in the council’s history and have tried to reflect the message we received, which was to protect jobs and maintain services for young people and vulnerable people.

“Make no mistake, this is a budget I would rather not have set. But the scale of the cuts to local government from the Scottish Government are much higher than to other parts of the public sector. What I find even more appalling is that, while councils on average have had to endure a 3.4 per cent cut, an area like North Lanarkshire, with the deprivation we have, has its budget cut by 3.9 per cent.”

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