Massive cost-cutting exercise needed at Falkirk Council

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Falkirk Council is facing an unprecedented £40 million budget gap.

A report from chief executive Mary Pitcaithly has set out the very difficult financial situation facing the council and outlines a range of possible savings proposals, developed by senior managers.

The council is facing a budget gap of £40 million over the next three years.

The chief executive’s report included the first set of savings proposals developed to help address this gap. They have been drafted by council officers and suggest possible ways in which the council might address its funding deficit.

No decisions about savings have been made at this stage and the views of employees and the general public will be taken into account when elected members set the final budget early next year.

To bridge the gap, council officers have looked at options for how savings can be made, including changing, reducing or even stopping services.

Options also include a review of assets, options to purchase goods more cost effectively and funding for partners.

With around 60 per cent of the council’s budget being spent on employee costs, it is likely that the number of employees will also need to reduce. Regular discussions are taking place with trades unions and the chief executive has written to employees to advise them about the arrangements for internal consultations on the budget proposals.

Mrs Pitcaithly said: “Most councils are facing similar challenges but the position in Falkirk is made more difficult by local demographic issues such as increasing numbers of children enrolling at school and increasing numbers of older people living in the area. While these changes are positive, they mean there is more demand on our services.”