A budget which ‘delivers for everyone in Renfrewshire’ and continues recovery and renewal from the impact of the pandemic has been agreed by councillors today (Thursday 3 March 2022).
The £466.3million Renfrewshire Council budget includes investment in town and village centres, enhanced community facilities and improved schools and nurseries.
Funding of £11.6million to bolster adult social care and £5million to tackle the cost of living and help those most in need was also agreed.
The financial plans will also continue the £437million capital investment programme well under way, bringing better digital connections, new transport links and transforming cultural venues.
Council Tax increase was set at 3%, alongside a £150 Scottish Government credit for households in Bands A-D and people receiving Council Tax Reduction.
Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, said: “Our budget continues to deliver for everyone in Renfrewshire as we recover and renew from the impact of the pandemic.
“It helps those most in need, ensuring we leave no-one behind and will help tackle the increasing cost of living people are facing. It puts money into community facilities, schools and nurseries, town and village centres, building pride in our place and ensuring we see the benefits of recovery right across Renfrewshire.
“Our budget decisions support our drive for Renfrewshire’s social, economic, cultural and green recovery, while ensuring the Council’s sustainability in an increasingly challenging and complex financial environment.
“The financial impact of COVID-19, inflation and the increased cost of goods are being felt across all our services and the Council Tax increase is a financially responsible step, which, for the majority of households who will receive the £150 Scottish Government credit will mean paying less Council Tax than last year.”
Some £2.25million will go to town and village centres, including funds in Erskine to support local businesses and jobs, works on Johnstone High Street and money to transform key Renfrew sites. Property owners in village centres will be able to access a conservation and heritage grants scheme and the successful villages investment fund is being replenished.
Renfrewshire retail businesses will benefit from a shop front fund and there’s more funds to improve community halls, taking total investment to £3million since 2019 and £1.2million to maintain artificial playing surfaces.
Building on the Council’s work to tackle poverty and inequality, £5million was also allocated for new programmes in partnership with communities, including a financial inclusion pilot project in schools supported by Renfrewshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau and £1.3million of targeted housing and welfare financial support as well as an increase to funding for children’s mental health.
Further investment in school and nursery facilities will see £3million invested by 2023 and £10million earmarked for a match-funded bid to the Scottish Government Learning Estate Improvement Programme in 2022 for a new Thorn Primary School in Johnstone.
Measures to improve the local environment will see an enforcement taskforce formed to tackle flytipping and further funding for Renfrewshire cemeteries, a half-million investment since 2020.
There’s also £200,000 to continue support for local culture and heritage organisations through the established Culture Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF).
Councillors also approved the housing capital investment plan to 2027, confirming the biggest investment in housing for a generation – the five-year plan will invest £266million to build new, modern, energy efficient council homes and upgrade existing properties.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This is a budget which puts Renfrewshire people first. We recognise the immense impact the pandemic has had and the increasing costs we all face and are doing everything we can to help alleviate this through our investments while also committing to pass on every penny from Scottish Government.
“More funds for adult social care will benefit carers and the care at home service, bolstering the brilliant work delivered through Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership and we are giving children across Renfrewshire the best possible start in life by continuing investment in our nurseries and schools.
“Town and village centre funding will make a difference now and enable us to unlock external funding and continuing capital investment will support inclusive economic growth and continue our work making Renfrewshire a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.”