Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 09:25 UK

Council's savings options 'open'

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The council is facing a savings target of nearly 8m in 2010/11

A council administration has said it will keep "all options" open as it looks to make savings of nearly £8m.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has started the process which will see it finalise its spending plans for 2010/11 some time early next year.

Tory council leader Ivor Hyslop said it would require "innovative thinking" to find a way forward.

Labour councillors have criticised the administration for failing to list areas where cuts could be made.

Mr Hyslop said the financial situation for the next financial year was extremely challenging and the longer term prospects looked "equally bleak".

People aren't interested in hearing politicians talk about process
Ronnie Nicholson
Labour group leader

"This demands innovative thinking about services and their delivery and the creation of a political consensus on the way forward," he said.

"A difficult task, but one that was achieved last year and one that the public expect us to repeat."

The council is expected to come up with a set of options for cost reduction this week which will go out to public consultation in November.

However, Mr Hyslop stressed no final decisions would be made until early in 2010.

The approach has been criticised as "all spin and no substance" by the opposition Labour group.

Group leader Ronnie Nicholson said the council had not published options for cuts in order to avoid "tough questions on where the spending axe will fall".

He added: "People aren't interested in hearing politicians talk about process. They want to know what this means for their local services and in particular where the cuts will be."

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