Months of uncertainty for Streetscene staff

Argyll and Bute Council's Streetscene operation will have to cut its spending by �2.6 million under the authority's 2013-14 budget plans.
Argyll and Bute Council's Streetscene operation will have to cut its spending by �2.6 million under the authority's 2013-14 budget plans.

The workforce in Argyll and Bute Council’s ‘Streestcene’ operation face months of uncertainty as a result of the authority’s budget decision this week.

Although cuts of £2.6 million to the budget of Streetscene - which covers street sweeping, litter collection, road clearing and maintenance, public toilets, parks, flower planting, cemetery maintenance and many other amenity services - were approved at the council’s budget meeting, no detail was agreed on where the axe will fall.

Those decisions are to be left to the council’s four area committees, whose members have until September to decide which aspects of the Streetscene workforce’s duties can be cut.

Cowal councillor Bruce Marshall told the meeting that Streetscene staff believed the cuts would make it imposible for them to do their job, while Conservative group leader Gary Mulvaney pointed out that members had “no idea” where the cuts would come.

Independent Bute councillor Len Scoullar also asked whether the cuts could put the future of the council’s much-admired Ardencraig Gardens nursery in Rothesay under threat.

Sandy McTaggart, the council’s executive director of development and infrastructure services, replied: “There is a very clear process set out here.

“In each area there is a requirement to reduce expenditure according to the budget agreed, and that will be a member-led process.

“By September we will be clear about what the reductions in service level will be and about the impact on staff.”

Around 14 Streetscene posts are under threat as a result of the cuts; Cllr Scoullar told The Buteman he understood three or four of those jobs could be lost on Bute.