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Budget set for 2019/20

Council budget protects frontline services and invests in ambitious infrastructure projects

Budget 2019/20

East Renfrewshire Council today (Thursday 28 February) agreed a budget plan for 2019/20 which strives to protect frontline services, jobs and the area's most vulnerable residents.

The council will deliver a balanced budget for the year ahead and also announced details of significant investment worth a total of £212m in a range of ambitious infrastructure projects.

These projects include new nurseries, schools and improved leisure facilities as well as the first new council houses in the area for a generation. And a fresh commitment to spend an extra £15m on the area's roads was also announced.

In setting the budget, councillors also approved an increase to Council Tax of three per cent - sticking to the plan which was agreed last year when it unveiled a three-year budget. The council also confirmed it had no plans to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy or Tourist Tax.

We face ongoing pressures in East Renfrewshire as a result of both a rising elderly population and growing numbers of young people. This considerable double challenge places high demands on our schools and nurseries, and social care services. Despite these challenges, we have been able to balance the books and progress plans to deliver a number of major projects which will improve the services which matter most to our residents. Due in part to our prudent approach to long-term financial planning, we have not used the extra flexibility from the Scottish Government to increase Council Tax by up to 4.79%. Last year we agreed on a 3% rise for 2019/20 and we will stick to that. Council Leader Tony Buchanan

When the council set at three-year budget last year, it had to address a budget shortfall of £28.6m but due to new pressures to support staff pay awards and increases in superannuation payments for teachers, it is now facing a £32.8m shortfall for the period 2018-21.

Significant savings were delivered last year and £9.3m of savings are already planned for 2019/20. The council was still facing a £1.9m budget shortfall for the year ahead but today decided to fund that shortfall from its own reserves. This means there will be no new additional savings required from frontline services for 2019/20 on top of those already agreed. The council also confirmed no compulsory redundancies would be required in the coming financial year.

East Renfrewshire also unveiled plans to spend £212m over the next eight years on a range of ambitious capital projects. These include:

  • £24m on five new nurseries in Busby, Clarkston, Eaglesham, Thornliebank and Newton Mearns
  • New £15m-state-of-the-art primary school in Maidenhill, Newton Mearns
  • New £30m leisure and learning campus in Neilston
  • £15m of new money over the next five years to improve roads infrastructure
  • Improved leisure centre in Eastwood
  • New sports pavilions at Crookfur and Overlee worth a total of £1.7m
  • 240 new council houses
  • Greenlaw business centre in Newton Mearns
  • £500,000 over two years to improve CCTV
  • Creating integrated centre of excellence for older people at Bonnyton House care home
  • Investing £2m to deliver Frank's Law and new Carers' Act

Our ambition very much remains to deliver the very best for our residents and a number of our ambitious projects will start to deliver real change for the better over the next 12 months. Further significant capital investment in the years ahead will ensure East Renfrewshire remains a great place to live in, work in and visit. The Budget I have presented today protects important frontline services and highlights our future investment in improving the lives of everyone in East Renfrewshire. Council Leader Tony Buchanan

Two amendments to the Administration's budget were put forward. Following a vote, the Administration budget was approved and will now be taken forward by the council.

Council Leader's speech

A transcript of the Leader's speech and the accompanying presentation slides are available below:

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