Education

13.02.19

Dundee ‘sick to the teeth with austerity’ as council propose multi-million cuts to staff and services

Dundee City Council has put forward proposals to save £9m a year from its budget with plans to axe principal teachers in secondary schools and introduce new charges.

With the council facing a budget blackhole of £19m prior to the Scottish Government finance settlement, the SNP administration’s finance spokesperson Willie Sawers said Dundee was “sick to the back teeth of austerity politics.”

The city council has put forward a raft of saving proposals and has confirmed that there will be voluntary redundancies, with Dundee residents also now required to pay £35 annually to have their brown bins emptied.

Dundee council proposes scrapping principal teacher roles across all subjects in secondary schools, replacing them with a smaller number of ‘curriculum leaders’ in each school in order to make over £2m in savings each year.

Sawers said the move would free up teaching time so there would be more contact time with pupils, “bringing things together in a more collegiate manner.”

Whilst there will be no compulsory redundancies, Sawers said there will be a voluntary redundancy process as the authority tries to minimise the impact on frontline services wherever possible.

“I wouldn’t like to put a number on that but we have to look at service provision and the impact on that.”

The council will also be creating 50 new posts within social care and early years childcare in order to meet rapidly growing pressures as demanded by the Scottish Government, and is receiving funding for these new posts.

Sawers added: “Times are hard. We can’t deny that I think the public are sick to the back teeth of austerity politics which has led to councils being in the situation they’re in.

“I’m glad I’m finance convener of a Scottish local authority because if you look at some of the reactions that have been made in England and Wales, they’ve lost 40% of their revenue funding over the years.”

David Baxter of the EIS teaching union said the current delivery model for pupil equity funding clearly isn’t working as, despite extra money coming in, core budgets are being cut.

“The Scottish Government needs to go back and look again and how it funds education.”

Other money-saving proposals included in Dundee council’s plans include selling Dundee House to the Tayside Pension Fund, netting £2m; and raising council tax by 3%.

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