Cuts watch: South of Scotland

The consequences of cutting the UK's budget deficit are expected to be felt at every level of the public sector, including the services performed by Scotland's 32 councils.

BBC Scotland's news website asked local authorities in the South of Scotland region how they thought they might be affected. Check out what they had to say.


Size: The population of the council area stood at 148,600 in 2009 and the authority employs 8,413 people (4,417 full time and 3,996 part-time).

Budget: £384m for 2010/11

Funding squeeze: Council-wide savings of £50m will be required over the next three years.

Options for savings: The council has drawn up a list of potential savings options in the departments of planning, housing and the environment.

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A special BBC News season examining the approaching cuts to public sector spending

Proposals include cuts to management costs, reduced funds to social landlords and a review of recycling.

In September it approved a voluntary redundancy scheme to try to meet its savings goal.

The authority estimates it will need to cut its budget by £20m in the next financial year alone.

Staff are now being asked if they are interested in early retirement or voluntary severance.

The authority stressed there would be no "right" to leave and decisions would be based on business need.

Council officials have asked the public what spending cuts they would suggest. Residents have been encouraged to contact the authority and a telephone survey has taken place to gather 1,000 responses.

The consultation, which started in August, marked the start of the three-stage process which will end with the council's budget being set next February.


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The authority has not closed any libraries, museums or sports centres. Some fees and charges were increased by 2.5% at the time of the usual annual review of fees.

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Size: The population of the council area stood at 112,680 in 2009 and the authority currently employs 7,238 staff.

Budget: £313m for 2010/11

Funding squeeze: It is anticipated that funding will reduce in the next two years by £16m to £20m per year. The real term reduction for the next two years is estimated to be between 14% and 16%.

Options for savings: A spokeswoman for Scottish Borders Council said that until the spending review is issued in November by the Scottish government the full impact to Scottish Borders Council would not be known.

She added: "The Council continually manages its manpower resource through reviewing the need to fill vacant posts, early retirement and in a few cases redundancy.

"As part of Scottish Borders Council medium term Business and Financial Planning we are reviewing all service areas to address the funding pressure that we will be facing over the next five years.

"As part of this review we will be looking at all the areas that you [BBC Scotland] have highlighted but it is too soon to indicate where the efficiencies will be found and the impact it will have on staff numbers."

At the end of September, the council approved plans to cut £2.4m from its spending this year.

The move means that education and lifelong learning will see the biggest reduction, losing almost £1.5m from its annual budget.

The authority said it was expecting a budget reduction of £16m next year.

The action means that the recruitment of a dozen teachers, intended to reduce primary school class sizes, will not take place.

In the social work department, charges for some home care services will also be introduced. The plans are expected to bring in an extra £140,000 in this financial year and £335,000 the following year.

Borders council approves cutbacks

In June, BBC Scotland news asked Scotland's 32 councils 11 questions ranging from how many staff they employed to whether they had to close schools and libraries due to spending cuts. About two-thirds responded over the following months. Of those that did not, a number explained they could not answer the questions until a fuller picture of budgets was known.

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