South Lanarkshire Council approves 2021/22 budget with Council Tax freeze

South Lanarkshire Council has agreed to freeze the area’s Council Tax at 2020/21 levels as the local authority’s budget for 2021-22 was approved by elected members yesterday.

Council leader John Ross described the budget as a good deal for South Lanarkshire and highlighted how more than £10 million had been identified for additional investment in the local area.

The spending plans were agreed at a meeting of the full council, covering a total revenue budget of £795.527m across education, social work, housing and technical services, community and enterprise, and finance and corporate resources.

A report noted that, following grant settlement figures being confirmed by the Scottish Government, South Lanarkshire Council’s overall financial position had improved by £12.591m compared to when a budget strategy update was given to the executive committee on 13 January.

Elected members had previously been advised that £5.762m in management and operational efficiencies had already been identified by officers. A range of additional savings options totalling £15.559m had also been tabled for elected members’ consideration.

The council yesterday agreed to accept £5.421m of those additional savings options. The resulting efficiencies, and the improvement in the council’s financial position, will provide funds for the programme of additional investment.

Councillor Ross praised elected members who took part in a cross-party Budget Working Group, involving SNP, Conservative, Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors, to agree the budget.

He said: “Thanks to a better-than-expected grant settlement from the Scottish Government, plus the hard work of council staff and the efforts of most councillors, we have been able to rule out the most drastic cuts to services.

“What’s more, we have identified millions of pounds of investment that will help our local communities and businesses.

“I also have to thank the residents of South Lanarkshire for playing their part. More than 2,000 took part in our public consultation exercise. You were clear on what you wanted – and we listened.”

The additional investments agreed by the council were:

  • A further £2.245m for the learning and wellbeing of children and young people whose education has been affected by Covid.
  • £3m into a Get South Lanarkshire Working fund to support social enterprises, attract inward investment and develop a new tourism strategy.
  • £2m to provide match funding for projects tackling Climate Change.
  • £2m more for roads and footpath improvements, with projects to be identified by local communities.
  • £300k for community food-growing initiatives and programmes that support access to healthy, locally grown and affordable produce.
  • £259k to support local groups undertaking community projects such as for the environment, food growing and footpath gritting.
  • £250k to assist local communities take over public assets through Community Asset Transfers.

These investments will be in addition to the £85m general services capital programme and £101m housing capital programme that were also approved by the council last week.

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