Council chief gives overview of savings plan

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Transparency, honesty and partnership are the watchwords for Angus Council’s new long term budget according to the council’s leader.

On Monday Councillor Iain Gaul, leader of Angus Council’s SNP administration held a briefing for the press to give a general overview of the authority’s forthcoming budget for 2014 and beyond.

The new budget is to appear before councillors at a full council meeting on Thursday, February 13, and has been the subject of serious cross-party discussion and cooperation since September last year.

The budget presents a savings package of around £19 million which will help offset the £23 million of required efficiency savings over the next three years identified in Angus Council’s medium term financial forecast.

Councillor Gaul said: “One of the good things about this budget is that there shouldn’t be any surprises for people.

“We’ve been banging on about it since day one that hard times are coming, and they are not only coming, they are here.

“We are a business and our product is the services we deliver and constraints have been put upon us to deliver the best service we can provide.”

According to Mr Gaul communities will have their part to play, and hard decisions by the council will mean Angus folk will need to be more proactive in some cases.

He explained: “Christmas lights for example, if you look at the little places like Glamis and Newtyle they put up their own lights and in other burghs it’s ‘The council should do that’. It’s nice to see and we’ll encourage and help them as much as we can but it’s not really our job.

“If you want stuff like that in your community then it will be up to the community to do it and that’s the kind of thing the community gets upset about.”

In the longer term this will include reviews of staffing resources and the possibility of streamlining staffing, teaching provision, primary school provision, residential and community care and a number of other services.

Mr Gaul continued: “Some people will have huge concerns about it, others will have the apathetic reaction which is a bit disappointing, and others will understand what we’re trying to achieve and where we’re going.

“Team Angus doesn’t just talk the talk, but is walking the walk. We only do what’s best for Angus.”