UP to 35 jobs are to be shed at Scottish Borders Council as the administration looks to balance the books.

The full-time posts could be lost over the next year as part of a bid to save £11.4 million in 2018/19. 

Nine of the at-risk jobs are from SB Cares – this is on top of the 20 already earmarked in November at the BorderCare control room in Galashiels amid plans to relocate to East Lothian.

And the latest job cut proposals include six in waste management at SBC; five janitorial roles; two to three in the economic development and corporate sector and four jobs in health and social care.

Jobs are also under threat as the council redesigns its Secondary School Library Services and amalgamates its customer services, welfare benefits and housing staff.

The announcement was made at a budget briefing at Newtown yesterday, but Shona Haslam, leader of SBC, says staff will be offered other positions.

She us: “We will be offering any of the employees who want to be redeployed that opportunity.

“The ideal scenario is to always have no compulsory redundancies but I would be a fool if I promised that now.

“We have to make sure that we are now working with employees to make sure the ones who want to be redeployed are redeployed.

“The council employs 4,500 people [3,615 full-time] so to make the saving we have made and it to only affect 35 jobs, I think is very positive. Of course it is very hard for those 35 people but we will work with them.

“The positions we are looking at are very much backroom services, so we are not looking at frontline services. Our teacher numbers will be protected, we are investing in our early years, our health staff and we are recruiting more police officers.”

The Conservative/Independent ruling administration at SBC is aiming to save £32.5 million over the next five years.

And at Tuesday’s meeting Councillor Haslam, along with chief financial officer David Robertson and Councillor George Turnbull, executive member for finance, outlined the group’s plans – which include confirmation of a three per cent council tax hike.

The local authority has a five-year revenue plan of £1.3bn (for day-today spending) and a ten-year capital plan of £294m (for long-term projects).

Among the proposals are:

  • Investing £89m to improve the school estate over 10 years
  • Spending £22m on roads and bridges (as well as £2m for road safety works at the A72 Dirtpot Corner)
  • Investing £2.1m for new and improved outdoor community spaces over the next three years
  • Making an £8.3m contribution to the £41m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme
  • Spending £1m to assist with town centre regeneration
  • Investing £282,000 for a community policing team to prevent low level criminal activity and deal with issues such as parking.

Councillor Haslam added: “We are very proud of our budget. We have developed a budget which builds on opportunities and improves the lives of Borderers, whatever their age. It focuses on delivering quality services, opportunities for all in a thriving economy, empowering communities and enabling people to live independently and achieve their goals.

“We are committed to investing in services to help the most vulnerable in society, both young and old, deliver improvements to our roads, build new schools and support businesses by stimulating the local economy and improving our town centres.

“We are proposing a three per cent increase in council tax, which will generate around £1.6m for next year’s budget. Council tax makes up less than a quarter of all the funding we receive, and this increase is only the second in 10 years, during which time the funds we receive from other sources has reduced and demand for services has increased.”