Financial hit list

14th December 2007 at 00:00
East Renfrewshire Council has drawn up a "hit list" of services that could suffer under the new funding arrangements - from the number of foreign-language assistants to provision of music instruction.

Until it knows its final overall settlement from the Scottish Government, the council cannot confirm that it will have to take action - but it seems that, barring a "magic wand" being waved, some cuts are inevitable.

Its education and social work departments have already overspent their budgets by around pound;2 million each.

The council has already made 1 per cent efficiency savings, but now faces a national target of 2 per cent cuts. It also faces rising costs in a number of areas: class-size cuts; pay rises under the teachers' agreement; National Insurance increases; fuel energy costs; insurance; and SQA exam and assessment fees.

Services identified as vulnerable include:

- cutting the number of foreign assistants from nine to seven;

- study support weekends at Ardentinny;

- music instructors' posts;

- cultural and active sports co-ordinators posts;

- community wardens;

- free school meal provision as part of holiday programmes.

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