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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Council unveils recovery plan
Councillors launch the action plan
The council has produced a 12-point plan
A three-year recovery plan has been unveiled by Scottish Borders Council.

The move follows more than a year of turmoil for the local authority, which was forced to cut jobs and services because of a 3.9m overspend in its education budget.

The council's new Liberal Democrat-led administration hopes the 12-point plan will ensure lasting financial stability.

There will be good news for the likes of those who have been protesting against swimming pool closures

John Scott
Council leader

The long-term strategy was mooted by the previous independent-dominated executive, which was ousted last month after an outcry at the problems.

The new council leader, John Scott, said: "We are looking to pump more into continuing education to ensure that the new structure is put in place there.

"And there will be other good news for the likes of those who have been protesting against swimming pool closures."

He also confirmed that the council would be spending some of its reserves, which currently stand at 1.8m.

Councillor Drew Tulley
Drew Tulley resigned as council leader

"A prudent council would keep 2% of its budget, its resources in reserves and as things stand at the moment we are way below that.

"But because of the circumstances we feel it is right to spend 500,000 or so of reserves to try and plug some of the gaps that are needed in this year's budget before going on to ensure that next year's budget is sound."

He said the authority had to learn the lessons of the past.

But he added: "We want to put a line under what's happened in the past and move on."

Drew Tulley resigned from the post of council leader before he was due to face a vote of no confidence in March.

Leadership failures

He had been severely criticised by people angry at the cuts in services.

He also came under fire from the Scottish Parliament's education, culture and sport committee, which spent five months investigating the funding crisis.

Its report said the problems had come about as a result of an "inexcusable" lack of financial control, a lack of "robust internal structures" and leadership failures.

At the time, the council leadership said a number of cuts would have to be made to services to compensate for the overspend.

The council said it would ensure similar financial difficulties would not be experienced again.

Education correspondent Martha Fairlie
"The plan will go before the full council for approval"
Council leader John Scott
"We must learn from what's happened in the past"
See also:

06 Mar 02 | Scotland
New council leader voted in
05 Mar 02 | Scotland
Borders council leader quits
26 Feb 02 | Scotland
Council accepts budget crisis report
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
Council agrees to service cuts
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