Councillors in Renfrewshire today voted to pass a budget for growth that puts communities at its heart, according to Council Leader Iain Nicolson.
The budget for 2018-19 was set at the Council meeting today (Friday 2 March) and will provide a budget of £391million for public services in the area.
Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This budget is focused on putting the needs of people first and allows us to target public funds where they will make a real impact, caring for the most vulnerable in our communities and creating the right conditions to ensure everyone can thrive.
“Since being elected last year, we have worked hard to make a difference in the area and we have listened to what communities have been telling us. By working across the political parties, we have been able to secure a budget that will allow us to make a difference to people’s day to day lives as well as ensuring we invest for the longer term, to tackle the inequalities that hold people back and create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and grow.”
Councillors approved the following investment:
£7.2million investment in roads and footpaths – the largest single investment by Renfrewshire Council.
£4.5million for a new employability programme for Renfrewshire, which is expected to lever European funding of £2.4million bringing the total programme investment to £6.9million – supporting people in to work and training opportunities.
£5million funding in a new five year Tackling Poverty programme to 2023, building on initiatives that have made the most difference to people’s lives including Families First, Cost of the School Day and Breakfast Clubs, school counselling and projects aimed at supporting children’s wellbeing, advice services, Street Stuff and digital inclusion.
£0.8million to support residents impacted by UK welfare reform changes, particularly Universal Credit.
£50,000 to provide an affordable funeral service to support families through the most difficult of times and remove burial and registration fees for families who lose a child under 16
£2million for digital infrastructure across the region.
£1.5million for green spaces and play parks.
£1.5million for a Community Empowerment Fund which will provide up front investment in facilities that can be transferred to community use and ownership.
Councillors also voted to increase Council Tax by 3%, making an additional £2.1million available for vital public services.
Councillor Nicolson added: “We have a good financial settlement this year and we have managed to identify almost £10million of efficiencies to help maintain our existing services but we face challenges ahead. Through the additional income the Council Tax increase will deliver, we will be able to protect services and make sure we target our investment where it will make a difference. With the impact of UK welfare reform we want to make sure we protect and support the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We want to build on the positive experience of our bid for UK City of Culture which has transformed perceptions of the area and revitalised community confidence. The recent announcement of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland at Inchinnan and Scottish Government’s £65million investment also brings significant employment and training opportunities for local people as well as developing Renfrewshire as an international centre of manufacturing excellence.
“This is a budget for growth and one that balances supporting the everyday needs of our communities with longer term investment in jobs and training to make sure everyone can thrive. By working together we have been able to agree a budget that delivers for everyone in Renfrewshire.”
£2.5million to enhance the cleanliness of our towns and villages over the next five years, supporting the Team Up to Clean Up campaign with road sweeping, gully cleaning, litter picking and the Rapid Response team.