Stirling Council approves 2020/21 budget and emergency powers amid COVID-19 pandemic

Stirling Council said it has committed to investing millions in initiatives to support communities, grow the local economy and enhance infrastructure including roads after it approved a budget package which will safeguard vital services, protect its most vulnerable people and increase investment in the capital programme to more than £30 million. 

Within the capital programme, the council will be spending on a wide-range of projects that support the local authority’s six key priorities.

Among these commitments are:

  • £6.17m for road and infrastructure improvements.
  • £1.54m for community facilities.
  • £3.8m for enhancing schools and other education settings.
  • £2.56m for projects involving the City Region Deal.
  • £1.49m for various social care initiatives.

Some of the projects prioritised for the next 12 months are the refurbishment of the former Royal Bank of Scotland building in Bannockburn to create a business and community hub, along with improvements to Bannockburn Library and the football pitches at Laighills, Dunblane.

Within the revenue budget, school breakfast clubs and holiday meal provision, together with universal credit mitigation, will also continue to receive funding.

Stirling Council said that over the next five years, a gap of £29.44m is anticipated between what the council receives in funding and revenue and the cost of delivering its services and this will be addressed through future budget setting.

Councillor Margaret Brisley, convener of Stirling Council’s finance and economy committee, said: “This budget protects vital services, supports our residents and also brings forward the investment Stirling needs to realise our ambitions and ensure our region continues to grow and prosper.

“We are dedicated to improving Stirling’s urban and rural infrastructure and our commitment to increase funding for a diverse range of capital projects over the coming year will mean that a variety of areas will benefit.

“These are challenging times and we need to be innovative to ensure we continue to deliver for our communities. To decide on this budget, we’ve been working across the council to capture every possible saving and look at how we can do things differently, so that we can meet the financial challenge we face while still providing the best possible services to our communities and people.”

She added: “It has been challenging, and I’m sorry about some of the savings we’ve had to make, but I commend the budget and feel we have come to a situation where I am confident this is the best we can do in the circumstances.”

The council has also approved emergency decision-making powers for the chief executive in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Following yesterday’s budget-setting meeting, councillors held a Special Meeting where they approved the expansion of existing Recess Powers in the event that a meeting of the council or relevant committee cannot be convened during the current situation.

Council leader, Cllr Scott Farmer, said: “This is a precautionary measure but it’s important we have the delegation in place and I am pleased we have taken this decision.

“This is potentially the biggest public health challenge in living memory and it makes sense to deliver these emergency powers while the situation develops.”

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