North Lanarkshire Council officials have confirmed that the decision on the authority’s required £73.3 million of cuts will not be made until early in the new year.
Members of its policy and resources committee had been due to decide on the cuts package at a meeting two weeks ago; the outcome would then have gone forward to be considered by the full council when it meets on Thursday.
However, the committee postponed its decision to give additional time over the festive season to digest the 3000 consultation responses and possibilities within the savings package.
Council leader Jim McCabe said: “The savings are of vital importance – we cannot be rushed into a decision just because the festive break is looming.
“The options we choose will have huge implications for North Lanarkshire and require careful consideration; this is not an easy task.
“A short breathing space will give every councillor the chance to properly study the savings options and responses.
“We did not create this problem, but we have to deal with it and strike a balance between preserving vital front-line services and saving money.
“Critics will undoubtedly attack us for this delay and accuse us of indecision, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“The decision we take will impact on every aspect of family and businesses life in North Lanarkshire, and getting it right is more important than getting it done in haste.”
North Lanarkshire officials published their “The Way Ahead”strategy in September, setting out 281 savings options totalling £105 million and involving almost 1400 jobs; councillors must choose around two-thirds to implement.
Among the suggestions are school mergers, charging for community alarms, reduced road repairs and charging for primary-school swimming.