Total of 53 council jobs to go

as council workers across Scotland face up to the loss of 10,000 jobs, in the Borders there will be no compulsory redundancies among the 53 jobs that will go.

Earlier this week the numbers started to mount up with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire both predicting job losses amongst staff of 900 each. In neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway 178 jobs will go but the biggest cuts are likely to be in Fife and Glasgow where the numbers are likely to be nearer 1800 and 3000.

“We aren’t planning any compulsory redundancies,” said leader of Scottish Borders Council, Councillor David Parker.

“53 jobs will go but they are jobs that will not be filled or temporary contracts that are coming to an end. We are also doing a voluntary severance scheme, so we will be reducing the head count, but it tends to be cheaper doing it by voluntary severance.

“We have been doing a huge number of reviews over the years and have already changed the head count at SBC. We are in a much better financial position than many because we haven’t been sitting about waiting for this to happen.

“Aberdeen has just announced 900 redundancies which seems incredible. That will cost them more than if they did it on a voluntary basis.”

A report by a national budget review group last year warned that in the next five years public sector jobs in Scotland could be reduced by 50,000 as the UK gets to grips with the spending squeeze. Across Britain there could be as many as 140,000 council posts disappear and concern is growing about the impact it could have on the most vulnerable members of society.

“Any suggestion that frontline services for the most vulnerable people in our society are not being affected by cuts of this scale is simply nonsense,” said GMB general secretary Paul Kenny.

“The impact for those who depend on these services will be devastating.”

The potential job losses come as councils across Scotland are working towards setting their budgets for the financial year 2011/12 and with a reduced Scottish budget of £1 billion as the UK Government takes steps to reduced the country’s £155 billion annual deficit things are going to be tight.

SBC will set its budget in two weeks time on Thursday, February 10, and as they continue their series of public meetings across the region presenting their proposals, Councillor Parker is confident there is nothing there to cause concern.

“We do have a balanced capital and revenue budget now,” he said. “A lot of the changes have already been made public and the outstanding balances shouldn’t be too contentious. We have been able to do it without looking at redundancies.”

Councillors and officials will be hosting a meeting at Eyemouth Primary School on Thursday, February 3, starting at 7pm to outline their plans, make people aware of the constraints they are working under and hear the concerns of residents.