Options worth as much as £40million have been drawn up to plug a massive black hole in East Renfrewshire’s finances – and redundancies can’t be ruled out.

East Renfrewshire Council is currently expecting a £30m shortfall over the next three years and will soon hold consultation sessions with residents on possible cuts and increased charges.

Council leader Owen O’Donnell told a full council meeting the budget gap was predicted as there is set to be a flat cash settlement from the Scottish Government “at a time when inflation is at 10 per cent.”

Councillor Annette Ireland, of the SNP, quizzed the Labour member on whether any job cuts would be as a result of “natural turnover and voluntary early retirement and redundancies.”

Councillor O’Donnell replied: “We will always endeavour to make any redundancies voluntarily and we will always endeavour to minimise any redundancies.

“We have to be honest – we cannot guarantee there won’t be redundancies happening, given the scale of the savings that are being discussed. I very much doubt any opposition party would be able to give such a commitment legally to this council.”

He had earlier said the council is facing “extreme funding pressures” due to the cost-of-living crisis, high interest rates, energy costs, the war in Ukraine and the long-term impact of Covid.

There is also an expected £18m shortfall for East Renfrewshire’s health and social care partnership and £1.5m for its culture and leisure trust, the council leader added.

“The Scottish Government has made consistent choices over the last 15 years to underfund local authorities throughout Scotland and we are now facing severe cuts to local service delivery,” he added.

Councillor O’Donnell also said none of the £40m savings options are “easy” and “many will involve cutting the level of service we provide to residents and reducing the number of staff we have.”

He continued: “Given the commitment and hard work of our staff during Covid, staff reductions are particularly difficult to contemplate.

"I know the cost-of-living crisis is already worrying our lower-paid staff and I know we all want to do everything in our power to minimise service cuts and job losses but we do have to plan for the worst. I sincerely hope the situation will improve.”