Cutbacks and job losses in East Dunbartonshire

THE axe is being swung by a cash-strapped council to save £10m.

East Dunbartonshire Councils aims to shed around 160 posts - through voluntary redundancies and early retirement if possible.

However, compulsory job cuts have not been ruled out.

All political parties on the council agreed to more than 6.3million of savings for 2011/12 at a special meeting last week.

More than 150 different cuts will be made across departments, including education and social work.

Despite receiving a better financial settlement than expected from the Scottish Government, further cutbacks of 3.7million will have to be found for the budget meeting in February.

The council has to save a staggering 30million over the next three years.

The biggest cuts include a revised waste collection service, which will save 300,000 rising to 600,000 in the following two years. The council claims this will help to reduce some of the costs of landfill tax.

It's understood food and garden waste could be collected together and a single bin, rather than the current boxes, will be introduced for materials that can be recycled, such as paper and plastic.

Crucially, how often bins will be emptied has still to be decided. This was a key factor in the downfall of the council's previous Lib Dem administration at the last council elections.

The authority also plans to slice budgets for schools by one per cent, saving 660,000.

Other cuts include:

* 349,500 by increasing English and maths classes in S1/2 to 30 pupils

* 125,500 through reducing management time in primary and secondary schools

* 212,000 by reducing the amount of money available to fund certain teacher expenses, such as charter teacher payments

* 310,000 by reducing school assistants in secondary schools and classroom assistants in primary schools

* 157,000 by stopping free fruit for schools and nurseries

* 80,000 through increasing cemetery charges by 25 per cent

* 200,000 by reviewing care home provision

* 400,000 through a saving from social care providers

* 200,000 by reviewing residential school placements

* 250,000 by reviewing supported accommodation

By accepting the Scottish Government's financial settlement offer all local authorities have agreed to a set of commitments including freezing council tax and maintaining police numbers.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: "This has been a very difficult time for the council. Our decisions have been informed by the comprehensive consultation we have undertaken and we have done our absolute best to minimise the effect of the cuts we have agreed on our services and on our employees.

"The levels of saving required, however, mean that a reduction in services is inevitable, but having worked together across political groups over the past few months to reach consensus for a large portion of the savings we need to find, we have helped to ensure that these savings can be delivered from the very start of the next financial year."

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