Council axe falls on 900 jobs

OVER 900 jobs are to go at North Lanarkshire Council over the next two years after £55 million of savings were agreed at a special meeting of the full council on Tuesday (December 14).

Following an announcement by finance secretary John Swinney the council faced a 3.1 per cent deficit in their funding from the Scottish Government for 2011/12 and further cuts the following year.

Presenting the savings options council leader Jim McCabe said: " During my time as a councillor this is the most difficult situation we have found ourselves in and for the next two years we have to makes savings of 55 million to set a legal budget."

Among those to lose their jobs will be 140 home support workers, 44 administration staff, 32 community wardens, 20 librarians, 20 maths and English teachers, 19 cleansing staff and 12 plant nursery workers.

However, the Labour group did decide to save 30 classroom assistants which would have saved 499,000.

Charges will also be introduced in council car parks to raise over 1 million in the next three years, but proposals to charge for pest removal service and community alarms was dismissed.

Motherwell Heritage Centre will close in 2012 and become a storage facility, while opening hours at the Watersports Centre in Strathclyde Park will be reduced and the park's toilets closed in winter.

Festive decorations will only be put up in town centres saving 100,000 and outdoor events such as gala and fun days will no longer receive council support.

The SNP group presented a one year budget with 30 million of savings but this was defeated by 38 votes to 13.

Full story in December 16 edition of Times & Speaker