South Ayrshire Council 's leader Martin Dowey has not ruled out compulsory redundancies as the council faces a potential shortfall of £14m next year.

Labour opposition group leader Councillor Brian McGinley asked a number of questions around the 2023/24 budget at a recent meeting.

He said: “It is understood that and the projected funding gap for 2023/24 could be in the region of £14m.

“What plans have the administration put in place to address this shortfall?”

Cllr Dowey responded: “Arrangements for the preparation of 2023/24 budget are a matter for the cross party budget working group established in May 2022.

“A member from the Labour Group was invited to participate in this group but the place has not been taken up.”

Cllr McGinley then asked about savings that had been identified.

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Cllr Dowey replied: “Savings proposals are currently being developed by directorates and, as yet, no savings have been considered.

“Ultimately, any savings proposals will have to be presented to Cabinet/Council prior to the commencement of the 2023/24 financial year.”

Cllr McGinley then homed in on the impact on council staff, asking: “Will any future council cuts involve a change of the council’s non-compulsory redundancy policy?

Cllr Dowey replied: “As yet no decision has been made in terms of the council’s non-compulsory redundancy policy.

“Any such change would require council approval.”

At an previous meeting, the council leader had told directors that there would be a moratorium on hiring for ‘non-essential’ posts.

Cllr. McGinley asked for a progress report on the moratorium.

He was told: “Following the request by cabinet in August to freeze all non-essential vacancies, this was communicated to directorates requesting appropriate action be taken.

“As part of this process a list of essential posts were identified where services could continue to fill posts as they occur.

“All other requests for vacancies beyond this limited list require to be approved by the executive leadership team and only approved if deemed critical to prevent service disruption or failure.

"The process is continuing with no conclusions yet reached.”