WEST Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) has set its budget for 2024/25.

At a meeting held at the local authority’s headquarters in Dumbarton on March 6 councillors voted through a variety of savings options to further close the council’s remaining £8.3m budget gap.

Council tax levels were also frozen, meaning a 2024/25 Band D charge will remain at £1398.98.

More than 50 savings options were presented to councillors and 18 were rejected – which means these services/groups did not receive any funding cuts.

Some of the rejected proposals included reducing or removing grant funding for Clyde Shopmobility, downsizing or closing Dalmuir Municipal Golf Course, and reducing the Education Maintenance Allowance to the statutory level.

But what savings options were passed?

Citizen, culture, and facilities

  • Reduce opening hours of Clydebank Town Hall – The town hall will now open four days a week and can continue to be booked for events seven days a week (£30k in savings).
  • Review library materials spend – WDC’s library service has a budget of £220k for resources including books, digital, audio, and systems. This option means going forward £170k will be available instead (£50k in savings).
  • Reduce financial commitment to the Highland Games – WDC will continue to provide the infrastructure and staffing to support the Highland Games but the £14k of funding provided to the Highland Games committee will stop (£14k in savings).
  • Review core library staffing (out with branch libraries) and remove one postsaving of £18k and £36k in future years.
  • Review menus in educational establishments to reduce waste whilst ensuring compliance with nutritional guidance - £60k in savings.
  • Reduction to Community Budgeting Fund and reduction to the Community Engagement Budget – Under these options bespoke funding administered by the communities team and available to community groups to apply for will be reduced (£49k in savings). Within the Community Budgeting Fund £27k will still be available for groups to apply for and within the Community Engagement Fund, £22k will still be available.
  • Reduction to the Communities Team core budget – A review of operations will be carried out to deliver a small reduction in the Communities Team staffing and revise the delivery model (£87k in savings).

Educational services

  • Increased use of Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) to pay for associated support service costs – Increase central funding recharge for administering PEF, with £3.38m still available across schools to support children and young people (£70k in savings).
  • Introduce Early Start Clubs at schools – These will replace breakfast clubs and will provide childcare and breakfast at a small daily fee for families who are not eligible for free school meals. Families who are eligible will continue to receive this service free of charge (expected to generate £187k).
  • Out-of-School Care Services at St Eunan’s Primary School and Linnvale Primary School – This proposal had been to close these services due to low usage however feedback from parents is that they would be willing to pay more to keep it running. Sessions will increase by £3 from April 2024 (expected to boost income by £14k in 2024/25).
  • Remove one of two Education Officer posts responsible for quality assuring and monitoring the performance of West Dunbartonshire schools - £75k in savings.
  • Reduce the number of ELC Early Stage Teachers from 14.8 FTE to 11.4 FTE across the entire ELC learning estate – £219k in savings.
  • Reduce the number of Early Learning Childcare Posts from 223 FTE to 217 FTE across the entire ELC learning estate – Documents note that the number of Early Learning and Childcare Officers will be adjusted to reflect the number of children in attendance at centres, rather than the maximum registration number a centre can hold (£134k in savings).
  • Remove ELC Lead Officer in Bellsmyre and Dalmonach ELCs with remaining management team required to take over aspects of their remit - £62k in savings.
  • Reduce the Collaborative Support Service by redesigning Services For Children, Young People and Families – Collaborative Support Service and the Interrupted Learner Service will continue with 352 learning assistants and teachers, a reduction of 3.6 FTE from the current level (£190k in savings).
  • Reduce use of SMS text messages with schools communicating with parents using Groupcall -SMS texts will still be used by schools to issue urgent messages with other alternatives including email and free-to-use applications utilised for other messaging (£10k in savings).
  • Optimising primary class sizes – WDC will allocate primary school teachers based on the exact number of children enrolled in each school instead of the maximum potential class size (£400k in savings).

Housing, communities, and employability

  • Reduce or remove funding provided to YSortIt – 25 per cent reduction (£29k in savings).
  • Reduce or remove the general fund contribution to Lomond and Clyde Care and Repair Service – Lomond and Clyde Care and Repair will be given £41k in grant funding instead of £81k (£40k in savings).

People and Technology

  • Reduce pay preservation period to three, six or 12 months – A 12-month pay preservation for employees will be retained, reduced from the current 24 months (£14k in savings).
  • Reduce occupational health provision to required statutory level – Counselling and physio for employees will be removed. Employees will instead be directed to support via the NHS (£47k in savings).
  • Reduce Corporate Administration Support team by between 1.7 and 6.1 FTE – A review of the corporate admin support service tasks will be carried out (£112k in savings).


  • Reduce or remove Voluntary Grant Funding – Currently, WDC provides £150k of Voluntary Grant funding per year to support various community groups via West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services. The funding is not fully allocated and this option would see this funding reduced by 50 per cent (£75k in savings).
  • Reduce the number of council officers from three to two – One post removed (£26k in savings).

Roads and neighbourhoods

  • Review the provision of school crossing patrollers – 31 crossing patrollers will be retained with crossing patrollers located at controlled pedestrian crossings withdrawn (£24k in savings).
  • Introduce charging for garden waste collection – Introduction of an annual £60 fee to collect and dispose of garden waste. Permit holders will receive a fortnightly collection between April to November. This is around 16 collections, which works out at around £3.75 per collection (£180k in savings).  
  • Amend non-statutory roads activity within education – A review of roads support for education services will be carried out with funding opportunities being reviewed to meet costs for the two posts affected (£37k in savings). 
  • Reduce the Consultancy Services/Capital Investment Team by up to 50% - The Consultancy Services team will be reduced (£10k in savings).
  • Reduce the roads operations service from 29 FTE to 26 FTE - £80k in savings.
  • Reduce maintenance costs by replacing six under-utilised grass pitches with three new 4G pitches - £10k in savings will be generated through increased income due to the all-weather availability of pitches and a reduction in maintenance costs.
  • Implement new approach to road defect repairs – Planned road defect repairs will be undertaken using hot asphalt, which lasts longer (£200k in savings).  
  • Reduce weed killing from twice a year to once a year - £50k in savings.
  • Commercial waste review – Commercial waste function will be reviewed with fees increasing by four per cent (£45k in savings)

Regulatory and Regeneration

  • Remove £12,500 of Nightzone West funding provided to Police Scotland – Documents note that the late-night economy in the area has significantly reduced.
  • Reduction in paralegal posts – Two posts removed (£90k in savings).  

At Wednesday's meeting Councillor Martin Rooney, leader of WDC, said “unavoidable cuts to services will have a lasting impact on West Dunbartonshire’s communities”.

Cllr Rooney went on to add that the decisions had to be taken to continue delivering services residents rely on.

He also pledged to use existing funding set aside for cost-of-living initiatives to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the region.

This will take the form of four new funds – Youth Success Fund, Community Success Fund, Community Sports Success Capital Fund, and General Capital Community Success Fund – which direct support for the benefit of West Dunbartonshire.

Cllr Rooney said: “This has truly been the most difficult budget of my career to date. None of us took on the role of councillor to make decisions like these but unfortunately – as a result of rapidly reducing funding from the Scottish Government alongside increased costs – we have been left with absolutely no choice.

“The savings options agreed today were not taken lightly, but after careful deliberation, these were the best available options, allowing us to protect vital Council services and jobs.

“We recognise any cuts to services will have a lasting impact on our communities and that is why for the past year I have called upon the Scottish Government to give us fairer funding. Instead, we have received a real-terms cut to core funding.

“For us, considering the struggles we know so many of our residents face, freezing Council tax was the only responsible decision.

“Our priority and focus remains on providing additional support for residents hardest hit by the rising cost of living, and by utilising existing funding, we will be able to direct assistance towards our most vulnerable.”