Council announce date for cuts to be decided

Council leader Jim McCabe
Council leader Jim McCabe

North Lanarkshire Council will set its budget and determine its savings at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, February 14.

In October the council published options for savings totalling £105 million from which an estimated £73.3m could be required in financial years 2013/14 to 2015/16.

A widespread consultation exercise to determine opinions regarding the various options received more than 3,000 responses and council officials and elected members have spent the last few months going through them.

Last month council leader Jim McCabe was criticised by Mossend and Holytown councillor David Baird for refusing to allow discussion about the savings at a meeting of the policy and rescources committee despite being on the agenda.

Councillor McCabe stated a special policy and resources meeting would allow elected members could ask anything they wished about the matter.

The Times & Speaker understands this will take place in the morning of the 14th, with the full council to convene in the afternoon.

Councillor McCabe said: “We have scrutinised every single option over many hours of meetings.

“I will put forward a package for consideration by the council which best protects frontline services and jobs and takes into account some of the very strong views expressed during the consultation.

“We didn’t make this challenge, but have to deal with it, and have done so responsibly by examining every option and every detail to ensure we produce a package of savings which best serves North Lanarkshire and the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Last month also saw hundreds of council workers hold a demonstration against he cuts outside Motherwell Civic Centre.

Unison, which represent thousands of council workers in North Lanarkshire, has demanded talks about the cuts.

Local branch secretary John Mooney said: “Our members are calling our office on a daily basis asking their union for more information on the cuts.

“With just over a month before the council’s budget day, it’s imperative that we know the details – and that we have the opportunity to discuss alternatives with the council.

“Most importantly, we want to know if there are any other cuts being planned following the sham of a consultation process which took place.”