FLOWER beds will be axed by a Scots council under a “destructive” plan to save cash.
Argyll and Bute is set to turf over rose and flower beds as part of an effort to save £18m over two years.
Despite the area being renowned for its natural beauty, flowers have been targeted due to the high cost of cultivating and maintaining the beds compared with grass.
The council claims the move could save £100,000 a year.
This year’s Christmas lights are also set to be axed in a move that could save a further £100,000.
Critics of the cost-cutting have described the plans by the council – which is controlled by a coalition of Conservatives, Lib-Dems and independents, as ‘destructive and cruel’.
Education is set to be hit the hardest, with 72 additional support needs assistants set to lose their jobs in a bid to save £1.4m, but 424 full-time jobs could be axed in total.
Other measures include the raising of burial and cremation costs by 20%, the moving of waste collection to a three-weekly service and a 50% increase in music tuition fees.
SNP councillor Iain MacLean said his party was “absolutely determined to resist this destruction of council services” saying it “would increase depopulation, cause real hardship to the most vulnerable in our communities and render the council unable to meet its legal obligations”.
Unison, Unite, the Educational Institute of Scotland and Ucatt said in a joint statement that they thought the proposals ‘will be profoundly negative’ for locals and weren’t ‘adequate, responsible or accountable.’
Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell said the plans were ‘appalling, destructive and cruel’.
Dick Walsh, leader of the Independent-Conservative-Liberal Democrat run council, defended the move.
“Like all Scottish local authorities, we are facing challenging times and must make difficult decisions so that we can deliver services for local people, continue to be a major employer in the area and also invest for the future,” he said.
Councillors will be asked to approve the consultation at tomorrow’s (Thu) policy and resources committee before the proposals go to the full council on 22 October.