Falkirk culture group rules out compulsory redundancies despite £4.5m budget gap

Members of Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust have agreed that compulsory redundancies will not be made, despite the Trust facing a budget gap of more than £4.5 million.

In a report to be discussed at a meeting of Falkirk Council on Tuesday, councillors will hear more about funding for the trust, which operates the council’s leisure and cultural facilities.

In a previous meeting, Trust bosses said they could not present a business case as the only way they could make the savings requested was to cut services and jobs.

The report to council reveals that discussions since then between the two organisations have agreed that compulsory redundancies are not acceptable.

Members of Falkirk Community Trust and the council say there won't be any compulsary redundancies.

They also want to wait for the outcome of the long-awaited Strategic Property Review (SPR), which aims to reduce the number of buildings that the council owns.

The SPR has proved controversial – with claims that communities have not been consulted properly over proposals to close a number of buildings – and firm proposals have yet to be made.

The delays mean that large-scale closures and job losses will not be on the table for this budget year.

However, councillors will hear about other plans to reduce the deficit.

The Trust has been badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic which has forced many of its properties to close and slashed its income, although unlike the council it was able to make extensive use of the furlough scheme.

The meeting will also look again at a report into bringing the Trust back under full council control.