Published: 23/01/2019 17:06 - Updated: 23/01/2019 17:48

Drastic cuts proposed for Moray - and more on the way

Council frontSIX libraries, every public toilet and every school lollipop person looks set to be axed in Moray.

The council this afternoon announced a whole series of proposed cuts, including doing away with the Active Schools programme that gets primary school children exercising.

However these drastic proposals, which also include shutting Keith and Lossiemouth swimming pools, will only save £2.2million.

Another £5.2million of savings will still have to be found within the next month before the budget is set on February 27.

The proposed savings will cut across a range of services.

Schools

Reduce primary school devolved school management budget.

Increase class sizes to a maximum of 30 pupils in P2 and P3.

Reduce secondary devolved school management budgets. (Any unallocated budget monies will be put into general reserves).

Remove the Active Schools and Sports Development programmes in all schools.

Remove the remaining school crossing patrollers.

Increase charges for musical instruction in schools to £699 per pupil, per year, for individual tuition and £490 per pupil, per year, for group tuition. Existing exclusions for SQA music students and those in receipt of free school meals will remain in place.

Introduce a charge for school transport from the start of the 2019/20 academic year for those not entitled to statutory school transport. Cost per pupil £370 per academic year.

Community centres

Increase charges at Elgin Community Centre and revise staffing structure. Review in four months to see if savings are emerging.

Close Auchernack and relocate staff and services to Forres House Community Centre. Revise staffing structure at Forres House.

Swimming pools

Close Keith and Lossiemouth swimming pools unless FitLife memberships exceed current targets by February 2019 budget meeting.

Libraries

Close libraries in Burghead, Cullen, Dufftown, Fochabers, Lossiemouth and Tomintoul. Reduce library opening hours in Buckie, Forres and Keith.

Reduce book, audio visual, reference books and online resources budgets. Reduce library and learning centre staffing.

Remove Essential Skills service which provides free learning in reading, writing and numbers to adult learners in Moray.

Pursue different model of delivery for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) service which provides support to Moray residents who don’t have English as their first language, to learn or improve their reading and writing, listening and speaking skills.

Public toilets/environmental

Close all remaining public toilets and promote comfort scheme.

Reduce street sweeping.

Close Gollachy recycling centre in Buckie – earliest April 2020.

Introduce additional interment charge (burial fee) for non-Moray residents aged 18 years and above, from 1 April 2019.

Grounds maintenance

Stop maintaining open grounds space on sites owned by non-profit organisations.

Stop maintaining open grounds space on the following sites where the owners are unknown:

High Street (Buckie), Seatown Road (Lossiemouth), Fife Street (Dufftown), Green Street Area (Rothes), Hendry’s Green (Findhorn), Meikle Crook (Forres), Redcraig (Mundole), Woodlands Crescent (Elgin), West Street (Fochabers), Station Road (Garmouth), Station Road (Portgordon), West Road verge (Dallas), Garmouth golf course entrance, Steinbeck Road (Buckie), Redstone Play Area (Darnaway), village green (Tomnavoulin), Cliff Terrace (Findochty), East and West Beach (Hopeman), Auld Bridge (Keith), tennis court area (Craigellachie).

Reduce the frequency of grass cutting in housing areas and open amenity ground (not cemeteries). A strip of grass will be cut adjacent to path/pavement edges.

Roads/harbours

Remove P1d routes from Priority 1 network. This will reduce the Priority 1 network for winter maintenance (including gritting) by 60km across 80 roads.

Increase harbour fees for recreational vessels at Portknockie, Hopeman, Findochty, Cullen and Burghead by 10 per cent.

Introduce parking charges at additional locations Moray-wide.

Community safety

Reduction in Community Safety service including the removal of one community warden.

 

Underlining the full seriousness of the situation, the 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 £214 million annual spend by £14.8 million for the coming financial year.

“Previously approved savings of £5.9 million and a Health and Social Care increase of £1.4 million - funded through the local government settlement from the Scottish Government - leaves a balance of £7.4 million 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 £9.7 million already agreed and proposed will be a significant challenge for the council.”

Read the full story in Friday's edition of the Northern Scot.

< Back

 

Reddit Facebook Digg Del.icio.us Twitter Bebo