Plans to reduce the number of library staff at East Renfrewshire’s schools have been branded “extremely concerning.”

A voluntary redundancy programme is being used by cash-strapped East Renfrewshire Council as part of efforts to make £4million worth of savings over the next 12 months.

Council leader Owen O’Donnell has previously said there will be no compulsory redundancies.

However, the SNP group want more information about what will happen if there aren’t enough staff willing to leave voluntarily.

Councillor Chris Lunday, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, said: “The council leader obfuscated on this point at the budget meeting. He was unable to give a clear answer.

“We are duty bound as councillors to deliver a balanced budget and it is not clear what cuts will have to be made should the librarians choose they want to stay on.

“These cuts are extremely concerning. East Renfrewshire is well-known for its excellent reputation for education and they will have a disproportionate impact on Barrhead and other areas with a higher level of deprivation.”

In November, award-winning author Peter May told how he was “horrified” by proposed cuts to library services in East Renfrewshire He spoke out after the Barrhead News revealed council chiefs were considering a series of cutbacks to plug a budget black hole over the next three years.

Mr May, whose novels have sold millions of copies around the world, was educated in East Renfrewshire and said his love of books was nurtured in the school library at Eastwood High, in Newton Mearns, as a child.

A council spokesperson said: “A wide range of savings proposals were approved at the full council meeting on March 1, some of which included reductions in staff.

“These staff groups include bilingual support workers, school-based librarians, school-based technicians and early learning and childcare and school-based business support staff.

“With more than 150 staff employed in these roles, the agreed 9.2 per cent reduction across two financial years will impact the equivalent of 14 jobs.

“Only once the voluntary redundancy and voluntary early retirement process is complete will it be possible to determine which specific staff groups will be impacted by this particular saving.”