Renfrewshire’s councillors have today signed off on a £440million budget which focuses on building on the current administrations long-term commitments.
The budget will spend more money on new housing, schools, drug use prevention and the well being of children impacted by addiction and the climate emergency.
A 4.64% increase in Council Tax was confirmed, representing a £1.12 weekly increase to Band D households, and the budget is supported through the generation of £13.9million of cost reductions and savings.
Breaking down the spending, £75million has been declared to maintain and build new council housing over the next three years with £24million being invested in 2020/21 to support planned investment programmes, regeneration, new build homes and retrofitting in projects throughout Renfrewshire.
The £440million budget includes a new fund to help tackle the climate emergency and more money for the school investment fund, doubling it to almost £52 million.
There’s £2million for the crucial work of Renfrewshire’s landmark Alcohol and Drugs Commission, focusing on prevention, early intervention and the well being of children impacted by addiction.
Also confirmed in the £35million investment package is £2.25million towards town centres, support for local culture and heritage projects and more money for village groups to strengthen their unique identity.
Councillors also agreed a £385million five-year capital investment programme covering a range of major projects.
This new investment builds on long-term commitments well under way, including more than £115 million for town centre regeneration; £47 million for road and pathway improvements; £10 million to tackle poverty and to help people find work; and £274 million in Glasgow City Region City Deal infrastructure projects.
There was also £150,000 committed to support Rainbow Nursery in Shortroods, working with its management Childcare First to ensure it’s long-term sustainable future.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our budget for Renfrewshire builds on existing long-term investments and signals new investment addressing the climate emergency, promoting inclusive growth and community empowerment, protecting the most vulnerable in society and investing in education and young people.
“Vital action is needed for Renfrewshire to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we recognise our role in leading, enabling and driving positive change.
“Building on our impactful tackling poverty programmes, we are helping those most in need and as well as funding to improve the lives of everyone affected by addiction, we’re providing additional social care funding and support for victims of domestic abuse.
“We are investing in our future by almost doubling the school estate fund and empowering our communities by enabling them to take forward the projects and shape the places that matter most to them. And our investment in town centres will bolster business and support inclusive growth as we make Renfrewshire a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.
“It is a budget which safeguards services and jobs and delivers a better Renfrewshire for everyone, rightly reflecting the crucial role of our communities as our partners.”
Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, Councillor. John Shaw said: “The council is in a stable financial position enabling investments totalling £35million which benefit everyone in Renfrewshire and which maximise the opportunities to leverage additional private and public funding.
“It has been carefully considered conscious of the challenging financial outlook facing all local authorities and work is well under way to transform how we work, focusing our resources where they are most needed and ensuring we are fit for the future.”
Main Photo: Lady Captain Jackie Sayers, Norah Adams, Rosemary Hammond, Sheila Campbell and Erskine Community Fundraiser Jim Watret