A council tax freeze, extra cash towards a replacement school in Johnstone, £5m for roads and footways, and a £281 million investment in council housing are several takeaways from Thursday’s £550m budget.

Approximately 80% of Renfrewshire Council funding comes from the Scottish Government and 20% is raised through Council Tax.

Two thirds of the budget is fixed and spent on children’s and adult services which include running schools, looking after children and young people in care, supporting people with disabilities and mental health problems and supporting and providing care for vulnerable older people.

The rest supports services everyone receives like waste collection, street cleaning and lighting, roads and parks, ensuring our neighbourhoods are safe, clean and green.

The budget also includes OneRen, who operates Renfrewshire’s community centres, libraries, museums and sports facilities.

Key facts

The key facts from Thursday’s budget are:

  • £549.287 million budget
  • £422.373 million Scottish Government grant currently confirmed
  • Council tax frozen at 2023/2024 rates
  • Further £4 million to confirm the construction of a new Thorn Primary School
  • A further £700,000 to support our £5 million Fairer Renfrewshire programme
  • A £5 million investment in the roads network
  • Funding of £800,000 for artificial playing surfaces
  • Additional £200,000 to create a £1 million package of support for local artists and cultural organisations over the next three years
  • £130,000 for refurbishment and repairs to community halls
  • Five-year investment totalling £281 million in Renfrewshire housing
  • £10.9 million for the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership
  • £8.864 million of savings and using up to £6.4 million of reserves
  • Inflationary rise of 5% for service charges

Budget investments agreed for 2024 to 2025:

  • New Thorn Primary School: As part of this year’s budget, a further £4 million in funding was committed to give the green light for the construction of a new Thorn Primary in Johnstone, adding to the £10 million already allocated to this project.

Activity in support of the Fairer Renfrewshire programme

This includes:

  • financial support for the Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau’s welfare rights service
  • additional funding to enhance the Scottish Welfare Fund
  • funding for ROAR – Connections for Life to help tackle the inequalities faced by older people in Renfrewshire.
  • additional funding to support a targeted programme of summer activities, including the provision of a healthy meal, for children and young people from low-income families
  • additional funding for the award-winning Street Stuff programme
  • the winter school clothing payment will be continued.

Roads investment

  • A total of £5 million will be invested in maintenance and improvements to roads and footpaths in the year ahead.

Housing investment

A five-year investment totalling £281 million in Renfrewshire housing.

More than 1,200 homes will see the benefit this year of £41million of improvements, which include:

  • new kitchens and bathrooms
  • more energy-efficient heating systems
  • replacement windows and roof repairs
  • the building of new council houses.

Artificial playing surfaces

In recognition of the importance of outdoor play and sports, councillors have allocated £800,000 for artificial playing surfaces in sports facilities across Renfrewshire.

Improving reading and literacy

Every child in Renfrewshire between the ages of 2 and 5 will continue to receive a book every month through further investment in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Cultural investment

To support the growth and ambition of the cultural sector in Renfrewshire, which will now see a decade of additional investment, £200,000 will be added to existing resources to create a £1 million package of support for local artists and cultural organisations over the next three years.

In addition, Renfrewshire Council will provide funding to the schools’ music service to celebrate the success of young musicians, and make a contribution to the development of a heritage trail at Oakshaw in Paisley.

Investing in buildings and shopfronts

Building on previous investment in community halls, £130,000 will support refurbishment and repair work, and the existing Retail Improvement Scheme will be topped up to continue to deliver significant improvements to shopfronts and premises across Renfrewshire.

Who Cares

A further £70,000 will support the Who Cares? Scotland Communities. It’s that Care programme in Renfrewshire’s nurseries and schools, supporting care experienced children and young people.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership

The council will provide £10.9 million to support the delivery of adult social care, including

  • social work
  • Care at Home services
  • care homes
  • occupational therapy
  • other vital services.

There will also be an additional £1.4 million to support pay awards for health and social care staff.

The SNP administration in Renfrewshire got their budget motion passed – ahead of Labour counter-proposals – after winning a vote 23 to 17 with the support of independent councillor Andy Doig and Liberal-Democrat councillor Anne Hannigan on Thursday.

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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