‘You’re not going to like this’: Angus Council makes direct plea for public to brace for cuts

Angus Council is making a direct plea to residents to prepare for big cuts to local services – and hold back from taking frustrations out on its staff.

In an animated message, the authority lays out the problem and calls for understanding from fed-up members of the public.

“We can’t pretend this won’t hurt,” the message warns among suggestions of reduced road maintenance and redesigned services.

The animated video, posted online, also warns charges could go up and reserves could be used.

“Remember that staff are feeling this too,” the clip continues.

“So please don’t take it out on our staff… including the ones who posted this animation.”

£60m cuts looming

The council says filling a £60 million budget gap, on top of a previous £78m saving over 10 years, will “not be pleasant”.

It sets out the stark options available, beyond the “statutory duties” such as education for children aged up to 16 and the provision of social work services.

Other services such as the provision of leisure centres or libraries, are not mandatory.

The authority could redesign essential services, such as kerb-side recycling, so they are cheaper to run.

In other areas this has meant a reduction in the number of times household waste is collected or changes to staffing levels.

The video from an SNP run council could prove embarrassing for finance secretary Shona Robison. Image: PA

Angus Council’s finance spokesman Bill Duff told The Courier the savings would be made over the next three years.

He said: “For 2024, I feel we will be able to provide a balanced budget, but we may need to use an uncomfortable amount of reserves.

“This is obviously a short-term measure as we have a finite amount of reserves and every pound of reserves used will need to be replaced either by a cut or a council tax increase in future years.”

North East MSP Maurice Golden said councils are having to tell the public about government cuts.

‘Embarrassing’ video

“The time and effort this took to produce would have been better spent getting the council leader on the front foot to highlight this where it needs to be heard loudest – Holyrood,” he said.

“I think people in Angus are now aghast at the priorities of their SNP administration, who left Brechin in the lurch during Storm Babet, and spend more time trying to rename streets than fixing them.”

The Scottish Government say Angus Council will see its budget increase by around 5.6% compared to 2023-24.

It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf announced a ‘fully funded’ council tax freeze, the only tool councils have to increase their revenue.

But councillors had previously voted to increase council tax by up to 22.5% in the highest bands, propsals which would have brought in an extra £25 million a year for council coffers.

The spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government recognises the crucial role councils and their employees play in our communities, which is why their overall share of the 2024-25 Scottish Budget has been increased.

Council leader Beth Whiteside. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.
Council leader Beth Whiteside. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

“In 2024-25, Angus Council will receive £267.1 million, an increase of £14.1 million or 5.6% compared to 2023-24, to fund local services.

“In addition, all councils will receive their fair share of the currently undistributed sum of £365.3 million following agreement with COSLA.”

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