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‘Difficult times ahead’ for council looking to cut up to 140 jobs

Money-saving measures risking up to 136 jobs have been agreed by Moray Council to fight a £12m budget deficit as the council dips into its reserves.

Councillors on Wednesday gave the green light for more than £5m of savings for next year which could see up to 136 job losses.

The local authority currently has a £19m budget deficit and must find £12m of savings by next February to balance its books.

Elgin Community Centre – home to over 20 local clubs – could be closed, opening hours of libraries and recycling centres reduced, and street sweeping cut down under the proposals.

The authority will now assess the proposals and consult the public and workforce before a final decision is made by councillors.

Leader of Moray Council, Graham Leadbitter, said: “Despite challenging financial circumstances in recent years, we’ve seen investments that have brought much to be positive about in Moray, including new schools and homes.

“There can be no doubt that there are difficult times ahead but we’ll continue to invest where this will make a significant contribution towards delivering the council’s vision of making life better for everyone in Moray.”

He added: “However, we all know this won’t be easy and will be set in a context of continuing long-term financial constraints, which means that things will have to change and that some things will stop.

“Unfortunately, this will lead to redundancies within our workforce, and we’re working with staff to support them through a consultation process.”

Many internal savings will be implemented immediately, including reducing fuel costs and operational budgets.

Then in 2019-20, other policies such as introducing a charge for garden waste collection, changing the opening hours of libraries and recycling centres, and increased commercialisation of the council’s leisure centre, will be implemented.

Leadbitter added: “We’ll shortly be launching a programme of engagement so that community groups and residents can have their say on the savings proposals, and I urge everyone to take part so we can have an honest dialogue about the financial challenges we’re facing.”

Councils up and down the country are struggling financially, with Northamptonshire the most widely reported.

Northamptonshire CC recently voted in favour of proposals to form a unitary authority as they face a £70m budget deficit after issuing their second section 114 ban.

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Image credit - MarioGuti


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