GLASGOW City Council yesterday warned that it would have to cut 3,000 jobs and make savings of £103 million over the next two years.

Projections made in a report to go to councillors next week says that the authority anticipates “an acute financial challenge in 2016/2018”, which will require them to reduce spending by seven per cent.

This challenge, the report says, will come from a reduction in December’s central government grant.

The Scottish Government, who hand out that grant, say that how much Glasgow and Scotland’s other 31 local authorities get will be dependent on George Osborne’s emergency budget on Wednesday, July 8.

Fearing the worst, Glasgow City Council expect to make reductions of £56m in 2016/17 and a further £47m in 2017/18.

Leader of the council Gordon Matheson, above, insisted there would be no compulsory redundancies, and savings would come from replacing staff who “leave naturally” rather than through voluntary redundancies or early retirement.

Matheson said it would be difficult, but achievable: “The pressures that will be coming in the next two years go beyond anything we’ve had to deal with before.

“This will come from cuts to our grant, along with other unavoidable cost pressures such as wage inflation and the introduction of domestic food waste collection.

“Dealing with this may well involve difficult decisions but I am not prepared to consider cutting services unless far greater savings are made from operating the organisation more efficiently.

“I am also still committed to delivering all of our promises to the people of Glasgow – most importantly on tackling poverty and inequality while growing the city’s economy.

“Our experience of reforming our back office over the last five years, the evolving working relationships with our community planning partners and the levels of staff attrition give us confidence that we can meet this challenge.”

Speaking to the National on Friday, Susan Aitken, leader of the SNP group in the council said that they would be making sure “ordinary Glaswegians” were fully consulted about any changes at the council.

Aitken said: “We were briefed yesterday on the latest developments. Clearly we have been aware of the likely implications of further Tory austerity on Glasgow and Scotland. We will be considering very carefully the options available to make savings whilst also protecting services and staff morale.

“Some of the proposals for reform have long been called for by the SNP – such as sharing some services with our neighbour councils and, in particular, empowering communities and local people.

“It’s just a shame it’s taken these financial pressures to push Glasgow Labour in the right direction. Given their woeful record, we are sceptical about the depth of the administration’s commitment to community empowerment, but SNP councillors will push at every stage for ordinary Glaswegians to finally be given a real say in what happens in their city.”

Councils currently get about 85 per cent of their funding from central government, the rest comes from the council tax, which has been frozen since 2007.

Although popular, the freeze has been criticised by some local authorities and unions. Yesterday, the Scottish Government spokesman brushed aside criticism of the policy, saying: “The Scottish Government has treated local government fairly despite the UK Government cuts to the Scottish Budget. Future allocations beyond the 2015/16 budget are completely dependent upon the outcome of the UK Spending Review, which is expected to take place later in the year.

“The Scottish Government has, however, put forward alternative UK spending plans that would mean modest year-on-year increases in funds available for vital front-line services, including those delivered in partnership with local government.

“The outcome of Spending Review 2011 and Budget Review 2013 confirmed that local government’s revenue funding and capital share will be maintained on a like-with-like basis with extra money for new duties. As a result, the local government settlements were increased to almost £10.8 billion in 2014/15, and increased further to over £10.85bn in 2015/16, which includes extra money for additional responsibilities.

“We have fully funded the council-tax freeze since 2008-09 by providing £70m per annum.

“All 32 councils have confirmed continuation of the council tax freeze for 2015/16 delivering cumulative savings for an average Band D household, over the period 2008-16, of around £1,200 based on the additional £70m being provided each year.”

Edinburgh: 946 management posts to be cut back in ‘transformation’ to save £107m

WITHIN hours of Glasgow City Council outlining its massive job cuts, Scotland’s second-largest local authority, Edinburgh Council, also published details of how it will shed almost 1,000 jobs in a “transformation programme” to save £107 million.

The National revealed earlier this year that Edinburgh Council would be making deep cuts, especially in managerial posts, but yesterday saw the publication for the first time of the exact number of jobs and the managerial levels to be “salami sliced”, as trade union Unison has called the process.

The number of jobs to be lost is 946, most of which will be management level. The number of senior management posts will be slashed by up to 25 per cent in some areas of the council.

In the biggest change to the way the council is run, the five current departments will be scrapped and replaced by four neighbourhood partnerships or “localities”.

A report to next week’s full council meeting lays bare the extent of the possible crisis facing Edinburgh. It states that “growth in demand for services for young and older people where costs are greatest ... is placing an extra £10m pressure on the council every year.”

Inflation is adding £10m a year to council costs, while welfare and pension reform have reduced income or increased its costs.

The council will have to pay £10m more as a result of National Insurance changes while “the council’s combined level of income from Government Grant and council tax has fallen by almost 20 per cent in real terms since 2010/11.”

The transformation programme relies on several changes, the chief of which is that the council will deliver its services in four new localities in which closer working with partners such as NHS Lothian will be the norm.

Great emphasis on better services will be achieved through improved digital communications.

Like Glasgow, the council has a “no compulsory redundancy” policy, and in order to achieve the savings and the changes in organisation, there will be revised and enhanced terms of voluntary release.

In order to protect staff on lower pay, a new minimum early release payment has been proposed, and staff will have the option to accept early release terms above the statutory requirements, taking into account the number of years’ service and whether they have immediate access to a pension.

A new career transition service will be created in partnership with a specialist external provider to help identify any other opportunities that may exist within the council and offer expert guidance to help employees move to jobs outside of the council.

Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, Alasdair Rankin, said: “By simplifying the council’s structure we can focus more on local decision-making and respond more quickly and efficiently.

“Modernising and streamlining our processes will reduce the number of roles across the council.

“I appreciate that change on this scale can be unsettling for staff and it is vital that we make sure those affected are given support to explore their options for the future. Making sure that employees on lower pay scales are protected if they choose to accept voluntary redundancy is also a key priority.”

Dave Watson, national officer of Unison, criticised the council’s use of the word “roles” saying: “These are real jobs filled by real people.”

He added: “Sadly, this is exactly as we predicted. The cuts will be dumped on councils as the Scottish Government has given no indication of changing course.

“The strategy of salami slicing here, salami-slicing there, means they can say they are doing something, and the bill doesn’t come in until later, but the reality is that the services are gradually being whittled away.

“We have seen a whole series of Audit Scotland reports about services that are not being delivered.”