North Lanarkshire is to become the first authority in the country to put out for consultation its plans for a programme of swingeing cuts
The council – the fourth-biggest in Scotland in terms of population – has revealed a package of cuts worth £105m and will decide by December where the axe should fall to save a total of £73.3m.
According to a controversial council document, schools and care homes could close, workers' terms and conditions could be eroded and staff could be made redundant.
It outlines proposals for cutting school crossing patrols, introducing fewer waste collections, privatising street sweeping, hiking the cost of a burial by 75% to almost £1500, reducing home care support for the elderly and charging for aids for the disabled and infirm.
Other options include nursery centre provision no longer being available for 52 weeks a year, community education programmes cut, school attendance officers abolished, school breakfast clubs and swimming pools closed and swimming lessons axed.
The cost of music tuition in schools could rise from £150 to £288 a year.
School cleaning would be reduced and the number of janitors scaled back, school meals increased in price and £5-a-week charges introduced for community alarms.
Home care budgets could be cut by £6m by closing two care homes and reducing the number of care home placements by 200 and exempting those with moderate needs from free equipment and adaptions.
A unit for children with emotional and behavioural support could shut, Citizens Advice funding could be cut by £76,000 and festive lighting could cease.
A council source said: "There are things in this document that, once they go in front of councillors, have little chance of being passed.
"They'll think they're too unpalatable. But it does give you a very clear idea of what we're facing in the coming years."
North Lanarkshire Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield said: "If approved next week, the council will embark on a massive consultation exercise.
"I would emphasise the package of options does not represent decisions, proposals or plans. I recognise many of the options are extremely unpalatable but we have a duty to balance our budget."
The period up until 2016 is expected to see the full impact of the financial crisis hit councils. For the next three years, North Lanarkshire will have its grant from the Scottish Government frozen at £549m, amounting to almost 60% of total revenue.
With council tax also being frozen and revenues calculated at £122m a year, the council has begun an extensive trawl for cuts.
The raft of savings come as councils face the consequences of the financial squeeze on public spending from Westminster and Holyrood.
Today, Finance Secretary John Swinney will outline his spending commitments to the Scottish Parliament.
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