Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Highland pools and community centre closures proposed

Bookstart bear
Ceasing the Bookstart children's reading scheme has been suggested

Closing swimming pools, community centres and museums have been suggested as ways for Highland Council to save millions of pounds.

Youth work and the provision of adult education could also be reviewed.

Officials have produced a draft list of buildings and services that the public could be asked to consider as part of the council's efforts to save £36m.

Councillors will discuss the planned public consultation process at a meeting on Thursday.

Savings are being sought in the local authority's 2011-12 and 2012-13 budgets.

Reducing the number of museums by two-thirds could save £400,000, officials have estimated
£172,000 saving from shutting down the council funded Am Baile Gaelic heritage website
Reducing library provision, including ceasing the Bookstart service which aims to encourage children's reading, could save £394,000
Axing the Out of Eden drama service would save £195,000

A reduction in the number of local authority swimming pools would save £380,000, according to officials' calculations.

Changes to how services are delivered for people with learning disabilities in Inverness, the Tigh na Drochaid day care centre in Portree, Beachview day care centre in Brora and Staffin respite unit would help cut a total of £319,000 from spending.

Closing some community centres in Inverness would save £133,000, while a saving of £115,000 could be achieved by shutting the city's Floral Hall.

SNP councillors have previously accused the administration of planning cuts in services for the vulnerable.

Last month, councillors froze council tax levels for the third year running and set a budget of £607.2m for the financial year 2010-11.

Savings of £12.1m will have to be made over those 12 months.

Council leader Dr Michael Foxley said at the time that having to make cuts was "bloody painful".

Councillors have been asked to help reduce costs by agreeing to package of measures to cut £50,000 from the members' budget.

They have been asked to make greater use of video conferencing and webcasts to reduce the need for travel to meetings.

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