CLYDEBANK’S rubbish could be collected once every three weeks after an admission by the SNP ahead of their budget consultation.

West Dunbartonshire Council bosses compiled a list of more than £3 million in cuts, but a better settlement from the Scottish Government means the SNP-led authority only has to cut £1m.

However, the administration is still putting the entire £3m list of options out to the public for consultation in January.

Before the December 20 meeting, union members and officials protested outside the Garshake headquarters and demanded a “no-cuts budget”.

Rhea Wolfson from the GMB told the crowd: “We are stripping dignity out of our communities. They cannot take anymore from us – we have nothing more to give.”

And Charlie McDonald, from Unite, said: “Keep party politics out of it, because they have all failed us. What austerity means is cuts - we can’t take much more.”

Jonathan McColl said he “absolutely” agreed with everything said by union officials and promised to lobby both Holyrood and Westminster governments “hard”.

The SNP’s own £1m picks for what they’d cut includes a “review of waste services” that “could include altering the frequency that grey and green waste bins are uplifted”.

Labour councillor David McBride asked SNP finance convener Councillor Ian Dickson, who moved their draft budget: “How often will my bin be collected?”

Cllr Dickson replied: “It’s a draft budget – all of this is subject to change.”

Cllr McBride tried again: “If I’m being consulted, I think I deserve to know.”

And Cllr Dickson admitted: “Low rise [properties] would move from two-weekly to three-weekly [collection].”

The move would save £125,000 next year but require £140,000 be spent on a new bin lorry.

Other cuts in the SNP proposals include:

  • Axing school crossing patrols from 12 locations where there are also pedestrian crossings
  • Cutting grass at cemeteries every two weeks instead of weekly
  • Ending weekend litter collection
  • Reducing park grass cutting and litter picking
  • Reducing budgets controlled by each school head teacher by 10 per cent
  • Cutting £18,000 to pay for swimming lessons for primary pupils
  • Cutting money to parent councils
  • Removing summer flower bed displays
  • Increasing fees at Dalmuir Municipal Golf Club instead of closing it completely

The draft budget doesn’t pitch the following cuts, but the public can still support them in the consultation:

  • Ending the free garden care scheme for all pensions, not just scaling it back, as currently planned 
  • Closing the Old Kilpatrick household waste recycling centre
  • Ending all gritting of footways in winter
  • Ending all events, such as the Golf Pro-Am, Scottish Pipe Band Championships and fireworks displays
  • Cutting education maintenance allowance from £60 to £30
  • Dropping the school uniform top-up from £100 per child to £50
  • Replace hot school meals on Fridays with a sandwich
  • Cut the number of Christmas trees and end festive lighting

Labour criticised the SNP for having no “red lines” over the proposed cuts.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “I will make my decision about what we are doing in February. We are meeting regularly with senior officers.”

He added: “I’m very hopeful of getting a better settlement offer [from the Scottish Government].”

The SNP tried to argue they were forced into their position not by SNP cuts at Holyrood or the council freeze for nine years but Labour’s refusal to raise taxes in an election year.

Both parties traded accusations of hypocrisy, dredging up arguments dating back to Gordon Brown’s bank bailouts in 2008.

Labour told the SNP to go back to the Scottish Government and demand a no-cuts budget, but that amendment failed.

The SNP motion to put £3m in optional cuts to the public was passed by 13 votes, with the Tories supporting the administration.