A DECISION to make £73 million worth of cuts at a local authority – with up to 1400 jobs at risk – has been delayed until after Christmas amid claims the options are too "horrific" to bare.

Leaders at North Lanarkshire Council have deferred the crunch decision, saying the three-year savings plan cannot be rushed.

Potential cuts being weighed up include reductions in the free school bus service, school cleaners and bin collections.

It is understood that infighting among the ruling Labour group has contributed to the delay as the full reality of the necessary cuts to spending emerged.

Workers, service users and residents had been told a decision would be taken this month.

But council leader Jim McCabe confirmed yesterday the full extent of the cuts will be confirmed after the festive break.

Mr McCabe said: "The options we choose will have huge implications for everyone in North Lanarkshire and they require careful consideration. We did not create this problem – that is down to the UK and Scottish Governments – but we have to deal with it."

The budget must be in place by February.

Councillor David Stocks, SNP group leader at North Lanarkshire Council, said opposition members had not been given a formal update on the council's position, with details emerging in the media.

Mr Stocks suggested alternatives were being sought by the ruling Labour group with the SNP also working to formulate fresh proposals. He added: "Some of the cuts are so severe I know some Labour members found them just horrific."