Labour and the Liberal Democrats have confirmed they will each put forward alternative Dundee City Council budgets ahead of a crunch meeting of the policy and resources committee next week.
It comes after senior councillors urged the SNP administration to rethink plans to reduce the devolved school management budget by 3% as part of a near £10 million package of cuts to local services.
Council bosses also plan to free up funds by replacing the role of principal teachers in high schools with new curriculum leaders and selling off Dundee House to the Tayside Pension Fund, for £11 million less than it cost to build.
Labour group leader Kevin Keenan confirmed the proposals would be presented to council officers before a 5pm deadline on Friday, and said one of the main focuses of the budget will be an alternative to the administration’s proposed school cuts.
“We listened to community groups and local people and we have heard concerns about the effect these SNP cuts will have on services and education,” he said.
“We attended a number of meetings, have taken a lot of feedback, and I have the greatest of respect for the individuals who spoke. They told us we should put forward our own budget to safeguard jobs.
“The position at this stage is that we will be putting forward an alternative budget. At this moment, we would prefer to hold back some of the specifics but the cuts to education will be the main focus.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson confirmed his party had also submitted its own proposals for the budget, which would see a £1 million reduction in planned education cuts.
Mr Macpherson said the “very challenging” financial situation was the worst he had experienced in 18 years as a councillor and called on the Scottish Government to do more to offset “dreadful” cuts to local authorities.
However, he paid tribute to Dundee City Council leader John Alexander’s “willingness to engage with others on the council around the budget process” and said “any reasonable person” would accept many of the SNP cuts are “impossible to avoid”.
The Liberal Democrats’ proposals include halving the cuts to devolved school budgets, scrapping cuts to the schools instrumental service, halting increases to burial charges and reducing the council tax increase from 3% to 2%.
The group would also increase the roads and pavements resurfacing budget next year by £1 million, scrap parking charge increases in district shopping centres, retain free brown bin collections, reduce special collection charges by £5 and continue providing free dog bags.
It also hopes to stop new charges being introduced for free car parks in the West End, along with plans to scrap subsidised bus services 202, 204, 206 and 236.
Mr Macpherson said he was willing to share the full details of the Liberal Democrat’s budget proposals with other groups at the council “if they are willing to co-operate and do likewise”.