Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has reiterated his intention to save as many public sector jobs as possible north of the border, in spite of the Westminster government's extensive spending cuts.

The Press Association reports that the SNP leader insisted that his administration would do all it can to avoid imposing compulsory redundancies, after it was announced earlier this week that 900 roles were to go at Aberdeen City Council.

In a fiery First Minister's Questions session at Holyrood, Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray accused the government of cutting funding for key infrastructure projects and questioned Mr Salmond's commitment to preventing job losses.

"[The] decline in revenue funding for local government for next year is of course a very difficult settlement," Mr Salmond replied. "It's better than any other major public service except the health service, which we are protecting."

His comments came after finance minister John Swinney admitted that "fundamental reform" of state-funded services was "unavoidable" considering the current financial outlook.

Posted by Hayley Edwards