Angus Council budget to be set this week

Angus Council budget to be set this week

Angus MacMillan Douglas

Angus Council has announced that it will set its budget for 2020/21 at its meeting on Thursday 27th February 2020.

Angus MacMillan Douglas, deputy leader and finance convener, said that it has been a challenging process, but one that has been met with the necessary determination, design and intent to support and enable communities to seize the opportunities available to them and to lead better lives.

The council has agreed a range of investments including £200,000 over two years in a legal officer and commercial officer to promote the sale of surplus Angus Council property and further reduce the council’s estate.

The council is also planning to invest £180,000 in the Holiday Food and Fun Project and other initiatives to address child poverty – since this initiative launched last year, Angus Council has provided over 120 holiday drop-in sessions; handed out more than 3,000 food bags; and provided over £36,000 in ‘food only’ vouchers - supporting more than 12,500 children to access food through the ‘Holiday Food and Fun’ programme.

Mr MacMillan Douglas said: “We have agreed a wide-ranging package of measures that will ensure Angus Council can work with our communities to make them stronger, more resilient and better enabled to shape all their futures.

“At the same time as the Scottish Government’s budget has increased by up to 5%, the funding of Angus Council has been cut by 2.5% in real terms for 2020/21 - this takes inflation into account, as well as the ring-fencing of funds for Scottish Government projects at the expense of other important local priorities

“As a council, we will have made savings of about £61.7 million in the five years between 2017 and 2022 – a staggering amount that equates to about 22% of our present revenue budget (£283m). By comparison that is like telling an employee on £20,000 that they will now be earning £15,600 a year.”

He added: “Our overall objectives remain steadfast and we are determined to continue to direct our available resources to these. We will challenge any and all unnecessary expenditure, work with our Officers to improve the effectiveness of the council; and provide value for money for Angus residents.

“I continue to be impressed by the way staff, working with our colleagues in the administration, have managed to take 27% out of council costs, while maintaining services and protecting our reserves, so we are resilient and able to respond to any need or opportunity.

“It is a stunning achievement of which we should all be proud, but the ability to carry out such feats cannot be sustained indefinitely.”

Mr MacMillan Douglas concluded: “Angus Council’s leadership and staff are demonstrating exceptional professionalism and diligence - working hard to defend vital, frontline services while ensuring essential savings are achieved and making Angus a brilliant place in which to work, live and visit. We should all be proud of their hard work and achievements.

“There is no secret that this makes us a smaller council, but one that is highly-prioritised, effective and equipped to empower our citizens and local community groups.”

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