Councillor’s concern over cuts

GIRVAN councillor John McDowall, leader of the Labour group on South Ayrshire Council, said he was concerned about cuts in the social work budget announced last week.

“I am delighted to see that the £4 million in capital spend required for the new multi-faceted facility in Girvan to replace the closed swimming pool, is specified in the budget, albeit it is spread over the next three years from 2012/13 to 2014/15,” said Mr McDowall.

“This should enable building work to start next year once planning consent and external funding is in place.

“The task now is to ensure that funding remains in the budget following the council elections in May next year, and I and the Labour Group are committed to delivering this project for the people of Girvan and South Carrick, who have waited long enough for a replacement facility for the swimming pool.

“I am concerned, however, that a £1.25 million cut has been identified within the Community Care budget for care packages for adults and older people as an ‘efficiency measure’ and £300,000 for ‘reduction in staff numbers’.

“It is difficult to see how this amount can be cut from the social work budget without having an adverse impact on care services for older people, particularly at a time when the number of older people in our communities are growing.

Similarly, £285,000 is cut from the Development and Environment budget to reduce staff numbers as a result of service reviews, and again this may impact on services.

“These are difficult times, of course, and the council has to set its budget accordingly, but we are still spending some £268m in 20012/20013, and I would want to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected and do not suffer from cuts which could reduce their quality of life even further.”