Councillors will be forced to choose from a ‘menu’ of budget cuts in a bid to balance their books in the coming years.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Falkirk Council officers revealed a list of where they believe savings can be made – and now it is up to elected members to decide where to wield the axe.
However, in a first for the local authority, all parties have agreed to get round the table to discuss where best to make savings.
Council leader, Councillor Craig Martin, admitted much of the list was “unpalatable”, but said: “Costs continue to rise and funding to be reduced so we are going to find the budget gap growing.
“It’s a massive problem and a huge obstacle we have to overcome. However, it’s a situation that local authorities throughout the country currently find themselves in.”
The council needs to save £45 million over the next three years, according to the report, and it warns that services to the public will need to be reduced.
Cutting 700 jobs could save £240,000 and negotiations are already underway with the trades unions.
Agreeing to join the budget group, SNP group leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Not one of us came into politics to cut services, but we do have a role to protect the most vulnerable.”
Councillor Tom Coleman said: “The name of the game is to preserve jobs – we need to keep as many people in employment as possible. Any vanity, or pet, projects will have to be shelved because we now need to look after our own.
“The council will be seen as the fall guy because it will be the one making the cuts. I think the cross-party budget group is probably the best thing that has happened in this council.”