Local Scottish council budget cuts

Councils in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders are setting out their budgets for the coming year.

Borders Conservative "alternative budget"

Before the Scottish Borders Council's budget was passed, the Borders Conservative group presented it's own alternative budget.

In the budget, the party outlined plans to save £11 million, including an end to the no-compulsory redundancy policy and a cut-back on early-retirement pay-offs.

"We brought forward an alternative budget, because we wanted to scrutinise the council's budget, and we found there were a couple of things that were missing or needed adding.

"We are very concerned that they are cutting the early intervention and prevention for young people, through the children's young people and planning partnership.

"We were also concerned that they are getting rid of the wardens before we felt we had a chance to really look at what we could do with the service, and we don't want to see an increase to primary school meals."

– Councillor Michelle Ballantyne, Conservative Group Leader

The Scottish Borders Council's budget was approved by 20 votes to 10.

£450k possible funding for Theatre Royal in Dumfries

Theatre Royal in Dumfries, Scotland's oldest working theatre Credit: ITV Border

The leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Ivor Hyslop, has invited the Theatre Royal in Dumfries to discuss potential funding of £450,000, to help redevelop the historic property.

The invitation comes after the council approved the budget for the next financial year.

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D&G council budget 'strikes the right balance'

“The Administration’s budget, supported by Independent Councillors, strikes the right balance between making the savings we have to and, at the same time, continuing to invest in our region.

“I am pleased that we have been able to put together a targeted package of measures to support the region’s small businesses.

“We have also allocated £1 million of extra funding to roads maintenance, concentrating on rural lifeline links and urban housing estates, which we intend will be made available to local contractors. We have also removed altogether the charges for music tuition.”

– Councillor Ivor Hyslop, Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council

“In today’s budget we increased the Living Wage to £7.50 an hour and continue to avoid compulsory redundancies. In total, as a result of today’s decision, the Council is devoting £1.6 million to addressing the pressures caused by welfare reform.

“We are also continuing to invest in early intervention, targeting more support at our most vulnerable children and school clusters. We are continuing with the successful teacher refresh scheme and have maintained classroom assistants where they are most needed.

“This budget balances the need to make savings with the need to invest in our region.”

– Councillor Collins, Depute Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council

D&G Council budget agreed

Dumfries and Galloway Council has agreed on the budget for the coming financial year.

The proposals, which were backed by Independent Councillors, include:

  • Investment in roads infrastructure and small business support
  • Expansion of the Council's graduate and apprenticeship schemes
  • Increase the Living Wage to £7.50 an hour
  • Avoid compulsory redundancies

The council say additional money allocated in today's budget takes the amount of funding allocated to addressing Welfare Reform to £1.6 million.

SBC freeze council tax for 6th year running

"Today Council approved the Administration's five year revenue and 10 year capital funding proposals.

" Although it is a difficult economic climate with more demands placed on the Council than ever before, our financial proposals do allow us to continue to invest in high quality well run public services throughout the Borders.

"Once again we are able to freeze the council tax for the 6th year in a row and continue to deliver a significant but sustainable programme of transformation of council services."

– Councillor David Parker, Leader of Scottish Borders Council

"The Administration’s budget agreed today is robust and affordable, and at its core protectsthe key service areas which are important to people in the Borders.

"Although the Council has a budget of around £250million we cannot meet every need and expectation, so it is important to focus on services which we are statutorily required to deliver, and deliver them to the highest possible standard.

"For example, we have provided additional funding of £1.3million for Social Work to ensure that we meet the needs of our growing elderly population, and give them the care that they deserve."

– Councillor Catriona Bhatia, Depute Leader, Scottish Borders Council

Scottish Borders council savings strategies released

A number of measures were proposed and approved in December 2012 by the Scottish Borders Council in a bid to reduce a £3.8 million funding gap in 2013/14.

These measures included:

  • A review of the Social Emotional and Behavioural Need Service (SEBN)
  • A review of social work business support services delivery model; all Social Care & Health Specialist Support Services and Social Work night-time support service
  • A review of the SB Wardens Service with the proposal to cease theservice by 2014/15
  • A review of Early Years delivery model as part of the implementation of the '600 hours' pre-school care and education package as part of the Children's Bill

The council have said that a number of further savings have now been agreed.

These include:

  • Changes to terms and conditions for staf
  • The development of an integrated waste strategy
  • A review of the school estate
  • Further integration of children’s services

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Scottish Borders Council announces 10 year plans

Highlights of the 10 year capital budget plans include:

  • £51m Investment in roads, lighting and bridges - including£5m to upgrade street lighting with modern energy efficient lamps
  • Flood protection schemes - £10.4m including Galashiels and the Skip Running Burn in Jedburgh.
  • Waste management - £5.9m
  • New Kelso High School - £18.5m
  • Improved sports facilities at Peebles High School - £4.3m
  • New synthetic sports pitch in Selkirk - £0.9m in 2015/16
  • Investment of £8.4m in broadband
  • £3.6m to be invested in social work property
  • £0.05m per annum to be invested in play facilities across the Borders
  • £3.2m, largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to redevelop Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick
  • £4.4m for new computers in schools
  • £0.05m to help prevent falls in older people's homes.

Scottish Borders Council approves budget

The Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has approved the 2013/14 budget plans.

They say that their members worked closely with staff in order to protect front line services and deliver value for money for Borders residents.

Highlights of the budget revenue plans include:

  • No council tax increase in 2013/14, which will be frozen at 2007/08 levels for the sixth successive year
  • No compulsory redundancies
  • A living wage of £7.50 for the lowest paid staff from April 2013
  • Maintaining the numbers of teachers employed by SBC in 2013/14
  • Provision of £6.5m to fund a range of inflationary and service cost pressures
  • An extra £1.4m budget per annum to address social work pressures in home care, learning disabilities and residential care
  • An extra £6.26m to meet demographic pressures from the increasing number of elderly people and increasing number of vulnerable children

Scottish Borders and D&G council budget cuts

In the past three years Dumfries and Galloway council have reduced spending by almost £30 million.

They now need to save a further £27 million over the next three years, which is a saving of nearly £25,000 a day.

The council say that their immediate task is to save £7.2 million over the coming financial year.

The Scottish Borders Council have £250 million to spend over the next five years, and a further £191 million to spend on capital projects such as roads and schools over the next 10 years.

However, they have to save nearly £4 million over the coming financial year.

They say they will manage this without introducing compulsory redundancies, but say there will be changes to staff terms and conditions, including pay increases and bonuses.