INVERCLYDE Council says it has made £23 million worth of efficiency savings alone to try to protect frontline services.

The figure emerged as councillors were confronted with a raft of tough decisions to come in the future at a meeting of the policy and resources committee.

A report showed that in the last year they had shaved off another £2m from departments but it also highlighted that more will be needed.

Council leader Stephen McCabe praised officials for streamlining services and said it was a tough task.

He said: "These efficiency savings are additional to the cuts we have made in services.

"I think our officers have done an excellent job finding savings in the face of cuts.

"This has helped the council, as we face more cuts in the years to come."

Accounts show that over the last 12 years the local authority has trimmed around £2m year on year, on top of all the service cuts and axed jobs which have had to go to plug gaps in the budgets.

Over the same 12 year period the council has invested £280 million revolutionising its school estate.

As the stark figures were discussed there was a testy exchange when one committee member called for money to go into the local road network.

Councillor Jim MacLeod pointed out that local people had raised the issue in a citizens panel survey.

Forty per cent of those quizzed said they were unhappy with the state of their roads.

He said: "It is disappointing to see the percentage unsatisfied with the roads.

"It is problem."

Councillor McCabe fired back, saying he acknowledged that roads are in need of investment but that the issue was not straightforward.

He said: "When you look at the likes of Moray Council they have the best roads but poor schools.

"It is about priorities and we prioritised schools.

"Strathclyde Regional Council did not invest in schools in Inverclyde because of Conservative cuts.

"We cannot invest in roads because of year on year cuts from the Scottish Government."