Inverclyde budget approved
Inverclyde Council’s budget has been approved at a meeting held in Greenock yesterday.
The local authority, which has already set its council tax separately from the budget, has reached a cross-party agreement through the council’s Members’ Budget Working Group (MBWG), which brings together representatives of each of the political groups and the independent councillors.
The budget will include the use of reserves to reduce savings required in 2021/23 and for a range of savings, with the money saved being re-invested to create a fund of £750,000 to address poverty and deprivation. This fund will be supplemented by an extra £250,000 from the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) to create a total of £1m to invest in communities.
The budget also includes a contribution of £52m to the IJB, which is responsible for Inverclyde’s health and social care services in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board.
A capital programme of £59m was also agreed which includes:
- £14.8m on schools and pre-five centres;
- £9.4m on roads infrastructure;
- £3.3m for town and village centres - on top of £700,000 allocated from reserves;
- £2.8m for scheme of assistance, funding the Care and Repair Service and a range of aids and adaptations to allow residents with physical disabilities to remain in their own homes; and
- £7.4m for a new state of the art hub on the site of the former Hector McNeil Baths site for adults with learning disabilities.
Inverclyde Council leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said: “I am pleased that again this year I’m moving proposals agreed unanimously by the cross-party Members’ Budget Working Group.
“I would like to thank the members of budget working group, and indeed all other members, for their contributions over the past nine months. The MBWG met on fifteen occasions and, on the whole, our discussions were amicable and constructive. We have worked well together in a mature way in the interests of the council and the communities we serve.
“I hope we can continue with this model of good practice going forward as we face the significant challenges of setting future years’ budgets.
“While the specific savings within the proposals from the MBWG total just £360,000, the total year-on-year savings amount to nearly £7m.
“The majority of savings have come from budget adjustments – for example, reductions in contingencies for inflation and demographic pressures and lower charges for insurance and loans – and efficiencies across a range of council services. This has allowed us to minimise the impact on frontline services and jobs.
“While the like-for-like reduction in our Scottish Government revenue grant - £550,000 in cash terms – is lower than we had anticipated, it should be remembered that COSLA argue local government revenue funding for core services has been cut by £205m in real terms. Inverclyde’s share of that is just over £3m.
“Local government capital funding has also been cut by £117m, with our share of this cut being £1.9m. This means less money to spend on things like roads and footways. We are of course mitigating this in part over the next three years through the use of reserves but that means those reserves are not available for other purposes.
“We will continue to lobby through COSLA for a restoration of this cut in our capital grant and for a better revenue settlement if yesterday’s UK budget has resulted in increased funding for the Scottish Government beyond what they had assumed in their own budget. We still await clarity on that matter.”
The budget includes provision for a number of cross-party policy proposals, including:
- Further funding of £700,000 in the budget to support our town centres;
- £600,000 boost local businesses and those people furthest from the labour market into employment;
- £500,000 for measures to reduce Inverclyde’s carbon footprint to help address the climate emergency;
- £400,000 to provide new or upgraded play facilities; and
- £380,000 for a range of environmental improvements.