NOTEBOOK by Bill Heaney

Swingeing cuts in council services and huge council job losses are in the pipeline for West Dunbartonshire in the New Year.

The short summary of proposed cuts listed below accounts for just £4 million of savings with 41 job losses.

This is just 25 per cent of the £21 million  required to fill the budget black hole left behind by the SNP administration who lost the election to Labour in May. There is more detail on this in the Council Papers for the meeting on 21.12.2022.

One reliable inside source described the contents of the proposals to The Democrat thus: “There will be huge job losses, starting with voluntary redundancies, but then but then forced redundancies.

“A £15 million redundancy pot is being set up to achieve this and 35 large projects have been wiped from the council’s capital programme.”

The final budget will be set on March 1, 2023, but there is absolutely nothing to look forward to for residents in regard to council tax or council employees in regard to their jobs as the Sword of Damocles hangs perilously over them.

Here are a few of the suggestions from officials as to where the brutal axe of SNP government and local government in Dunbartonshire will fall:

These are not in any order other than the manner in which they are listed in the council papers:

Cease the Pro-Am Golf, Clydebank fireworks display and Christmas Light Switch On events in and provide support to community groups to apply for funding to stage these events independently
Remove additional environmental health budget
Introduce a new charge for Pre application advice
Close the Clydebank Registration Office and provide any necessary services from Dumbarton
Rationalise property assets to reduce running costs and create opportuities for lease income through moving staff into buidings with spare capacity
A review of historical leases issued by previous district/regional authorities at below market rent values or no rent
Reduce Civic Waste Amenity Site provision through reduced hours or closing one site
Review and optimise refuse collection routes to promote recycling, reduce CO2 footprint and deliver savings
Transfer parking enforcement powers from the Police to the Council permitting the Council to deploy parking attendants to issue parking tickets and generate income
Introduce charging for electric vehicles
Close Out of School Care Service at Linnvale and St Eunan’s Primary Schools. Provision for displaced children available at local privately operated OSC services
Reduce staffing allocation to schools within the constraints of the need to maintain teacher/pupil ratios
Reduce General School Budgets by 20% leaving a total of £800k to be allocated across schools
Reduce Curriculum Development Budgets by 50% leaving a total of £100k for Education Services.
Reduce the provision of School Travel to the national statutory limits
Reduce the Council’s Capital Programme to reduce revenue expenditure on loan financing
Reduce the size of the Council Reconciliation Team
Reduce printing to only print material required to meet statutory/legislative requirements
Process education lets with a direct online application to be supported through either automation or an online booking system
All external Council payments to be made electronically (predominantly BACS) thus removing cheque payments
Remove the Council Tax discount for homeowners with 2nd homes in WDC council area.
Remove the 20% discretionary relief applied to all national charities who are operating premises in the West Dunbartonshire area.
Increase Council controlled Sales, Fees and Charges by 10%
Cease the free driving lesson scheme provided to young people
Review terms and conditions to address inequality and further reduce pay gaps

If this is just a sample of what’s to come in order to make savings of just £4 million, then what will the Labour council need to do to save the additional £16 million shortfall?

The new Labour council have failed to respond to our request to them to lift the ban forbidding Council communications staff to answer our questions.


  1. It will be the same as last year, Labour will say their cuts are better than the SNP’s cuts, and vice versa instead of opposing the cuts and setting a needs based budget.

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