The proposed Revenue Budget for Perth and Kinross has been made public prior to a meeting of full council on Wednesday 20th February.
Many of the possible savings identified will hit rural communities with transport, roads, schools and environment all feeling the pinch.
For local schools, the removal completely of School Crossing Patrols has been proposed with the justification “It is the parents’ responsibility to get their children to and from school”.
Instrumental Music Service Tuition is to increase in cost from £295 to £817 per pupil. It has been noted that this is comparable to private tutor costs. Wasn’t the whole point of school instrument tuition to make it available to those who couldn’t afford private tuition?
Cashless Schools are proposed from August with provision in place for those who do not have access to easy payments to access an alternative.
Parent Council funding is to be reduced by 50%
No more swimming lessons for primary schoolchildren. This is a huge blow for rural primary schools whose pupils may not have access to swimming opportunities at other times.
For Community Greenspace there is a double whammy with a 50% reduction in the budget for Play Area Maintenance and a 50% reduction in the Planned Maintenance budget. There is also a proposal to remove staff cover for peak summer workload tasks such as vegetation cutting on rights of way, summer bedding planting and watering, along with holiday cover.
Recycling centres in Auchterarder, Aberfeldy and Bankfoot are earmarked for closure, to be replaced by recycling points and the free issue of dog bags is to be withdrawn.
Winter maintenance of roads and footways is to be especially hard hit.
First there is the proposal to remove all out of normal hours treatment to footway network with the exception of Perth City Centre as carried out by Direct Services under 7 day working.Footways will only be treated during working hours Monday to Friday. Hopefully there will not be another Beast from the East at a weekend.
However, further through the proposed budget there is a second item regarding footways – “Remove 60% of treatment to priority footway network carried out during normal working hours. Treatment would be prioritised to footways surrounding schools and in Perth city and larger town centres.”
Not only will the service be reduced to working hours only, it will then be further cut by 60%. This will leave rural communities cut off in bad weather and residents safety at risk. Perth city and larger town centres are more likely to have the footfall to help break down snow and ice on paths. Smaller communities will end up with residents housebound in bad weather. It’s not only the footways, roads are also going to suffer.
It is proposed to cease ditch maintenance. A policy that will make roads more hazardous and allow more standing water to collect on our highways.
It is also proposed to reduce the Winter Maintenance Road Network Coverage by 20% which would mean that all category 1 roads would have to be reviewed to decide on the less critical sections that would have no treatment. To let you see how much a difference that would make. This removes the costs for 12 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) Tayside Contracts staff and 4 Gritters.
A more detailed report will follow as we study the paperwork further.