Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dumfries and Galloway Council revises cutback proposals

Council chamber
The council has been criticised for the way it has handled the cut plans

A council has dropped a number of controversial cutbacks proposed as part of plans to find budget savings.

A lengthy list of ways to reduce costs were put out to public consultation by the Dumfries and Galloway authority.

Some of the proposals have now been dropped but those remaining could see more than 50 education posts cut.

The council administration said the move showed "fluidity" in the process but opposition Labour councillors said it made a mockery of the consultation.

Dumfries and Galloway Council drew up a list of 26 potential cuts last year.

We said at the very start there was not enough detail here to make any proposals or any decisions to put forward for public consultation
Ronnie Nicholson
Labour group leader

If implemented in full they could have saved the authority about £5m.

However, it has now decided that six of the targets, with total potential savings of £1.6m, cannot be delivered.

They include plans to cut a number of teaching posts and also reduce a budget for local bus services.

Council leader, Conservative Ivor Hyslop, said it showed the plans had been flexible.

"When we started this process we had different facts in place," he said.

"Since we've been through the process different things have come on board.

"The government has changed its view on class sizes, school meals, etcetera, and that has changed our thinking on some of the proposals."

'Partial U-turn'

Labour group leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said the move showed the process had been flawed from that outset.

"We said at the very start there was not enough detail here to make any proposals or any decisions to put forward for public consultation," he said.

"They have done a U-turn but it's a partial U-turn because they have still kept some of the cuts in there without proper detail."

He said the public consultation had caused "great concern" as did the fact that the council was still considering cutting teachers and classroom assistants.



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