North Ayrshire Council to consider £46m housing revenue budget

North-Ayrshire-Council-LogoNorth Ayrshire Council has said that housing will continue to play a key role in supporting the delivery of its priorities as it gets set to consider a housing revenue budget for 2016/17 of £46 million.

Following consultation with tenants, an annual rent increase is proposed to be limited to 1.5 per cent from April 2016 with a provisional rent increase of 2.5 per cent in 2017/18.

The announcement comes as the local authority approved a £315m budget which it said will protect key services as well as supporting vulnerable people, safeguarding education for young people and growing its economy.

Facing reducing resources and an increased demand for services, the council said it had to find savings of £13.8m.

Nevertheless, £1.4m of new monies have been made available to support the most vulnerable young people, while the Health and Social Care Partnership will also receive almost £7.3m of additional funding to meet the demand and demographic pressures. This includes delivering a living wage of £8.25 per hour for all social care workers, including those not employed by the Council from 1 October 2016.

A ten-year £275m Capital Investment Programme, which includes £71m of brand new investment, will set aside £140m to invest in the North Ayrshire School Estate with £47m for the new Largs Campus, £32m for a new academy in Ardrossan and £25m for a new-build Additional Support Needs School.

Following an amendment from Councillor Maguire at the budget meeting, the council has also set aside up to £5m from its current year underspend and additional income from the development of its industrial portfolio to enhance the learning environment at Auchenharvie, Irvine Royal and Kilwinning Academies.

Councillor Ruth Maguire, cabinet member for finance and corporate support, said: “We have had to make some tough choices this year but, despite this, we have still managed to produce a budget which ensures that key services, such as education, remain a priority.

“Indeed, our ambitious Capital Investment Programme has a £140m commitment to our School Estate over the next 10 years which will include the creation of four new schools.”

Council leader Willie Gibson added: “It has been challenge to deliver a balanced budget but a huge amount of effort has been made to protect our priority services with significant investment in areas such as Education and the Health and Social Care Partnership.

“This budget ensures that we can continue to build on the fantastic work which has been delivered in North Ayrshire over the past few years.”

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