A council tax rise, jobs losses, library and community centre closures, funding cuts to local charities and services and community council's allowance slashed are some of the measures that have been taken to plug a budget shortfall in West Dunbartonshire.

A raft of measures to meet a spending gap that ended up at just under £15 million was passed by councillors after a day of political protests and accusations inside and outside of the council headquarters at Church Street, Dumbarton.

The end result was a budget passed by the majority Labour councillors despite the minority SNP tabling an amendement asking for a public consultation before any decisions are rubber-stamped.

Both parties did agree to raise council tax by 5 per cent, meaning a 2023/24 Band D charge of £1,398.98.

The spending gap of £14.575m will be met by the council tax hike and cuts, savings, and fees totalling £6.28m to try and balance the books.

Many of the local authority's libraries were under threat from savings options put forward by authority officials before the meeting - and this was confirmed despite 'anger and frustration' at the proposals expressed by SNP councillors.

That means Dalmuir Library and Dalmuir Community Centre will co-exist in the Community Centre building.

The libraries in Balloch, Parkhall, Duntocher and Faifley will also now be considered for closure or 'co-location' - meaning another council-managed commnuity building.

Seven community centres will be closed or transferred to community ownership in a bid to save £450,000. The proposed community centres are:

  • Bonhill Community Centre, Ladyton
  • Napier Hall, Old Kilpatrick
  • Bowling Hall
  • Glenhead Community Centre, Duntocher
  • Skypoint Community Centre, Faifley
  • Clydebank East Community Centre
  • West Dunbartonshire Activity Centre, Dumbarton

However, Councillor Lawrence O'Neill (Labour, Kilpatrick) made a commitment to the chamber that Skypoint Community Centre will not be closing, causing Councillor Gordon Scanlan to ask why it had been on the Labour budget motion.

A saving of £32,107 will be made by cutting the number of learning assitants across the local authority's early learning and childcare centres, a reduction of three staff.

Financial support for the council's Working4U service, a body that offers some of the most vulnerable residents in West Dunbartonshire a range of financial, employability and learning support, will be reduced by 25 per cent, as will the funding for West Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau, which will be cut by £87,284. 

Community councils are also getting their funding cut, with the flat rate grant going up from £500 to £750 but the additional allowance they are given reduced by 75 per cent.

Grass cutting in open space ares will be moved from every three weeks to every four and and high amenity areas such as parks and sport facillities moved from having its grass cut every week to every fortnight.

One councillor remarked in the chamber: “This is the worst day in the history of West Dunbartonshire Council.”