Thursday, February 12, 2015

Council continues to protect frontline services

Council Budget for 2015/16 now passed - all the Meeting-Reports are still available via this link; and the agreed Capital Coalition Motion via this link.

I'll re-produce immediately below, the relevant News Release:


Council continues to protect frontline services

Protecting investment in frontline services in Edinburgh for young, old and vulnerable residents was a priority at the Council budget meeting today.
Major investment in roads and pavements, investing in school infrastructure and working towards the redevelopment of Meadowbank Sports Centre and Stadiumwere other key priority areas.

Cllr Alasdair Rankin, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: "Given the financial challenges all local authorities are facing over the next few years, we want to invest in the areas that are essential to Edinburgh and so it is important that the public continue to tell us what is important to them.

“This year we published the draft budget in October and 3,525 people gave us their views – five times the number of responses compared to last year. We also used a new online planner to give respondents the opportunity to express what they feel the Council’s priorities should be. The planner allowed us to show where we will incur costs in 2017/18, to demonstrate the impacts of increasing or decreasing spending in all of our services. This was extremely popular and 1,719 of those people took Edinburgh’s Budget Challenge.

Cllr Bill Cook, Vice-Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: "We used the feedback received during the consultation process to help us make many key decisions such as maintaining funding for homelessness services, not increasing allotment charges and putting an extra £5m towards improving roads and pavements.”

The eight successive year’s Council Tax freeze maintains Edinburgh's band D rate as the lowest of Scotland's four major cities.

The council tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2015/16 will be:
A: £779.33
B: £909.22
C: £1,039.11
D: £1,169.00
E: £1,428.78
F: £1,688.56
G: £1,948.33
H: £2,338.00

Total budget
The total revenue budget is £949m for 2015/16. Council Tax funds 25% of this with 75%coming from Government grants and business rates. The total capital budget (including the HRA) is £245m.

Key budget provisions

Ensuring every child in Edinburgh has the best start in life
- Allocated an additional £5m of capital to support rising school rolls
- More than £4m invested in Early Years Change Fund for services for the very youngest children

Ensuring Edinburgh, and its residents, are well cared-for
- Maintaining funding for commissioned homelessness services

Providing for Edinburgh's economic growth and prosperity
- Maintaining £1m to continue supporting the Edinburgh Guarantee, helping improve job opportunities for young people
- Support the Strategic Investment Fund with an additional £4.5m

Strengthening and supporting our communities and keeping them safe
- Continuing to invest in community policing
- Allocating an additional£100,000 to each neighbourhood to allow local people to have an even greater say in how their area can be improved

Investing in roads, pavements and cycling infrastructure
- An additional £5m investment in roads and pavements taking the total to £20m
- Commit 8% of the transport revenue and capital budgets for creation and maintenance of cycle infrastructure

Becoming more efficient
- Delivery of procurement transformational efficiencies
- Implementing the Better Outcomes Leaner Delivery (BOLD) programme
- Reducing the head count of the organisation by developing existing staff, revising roles and responsibilities and implementing structural change in the organisation through the ’Organise to deliver’ programme
- Maximising income
- Maximising savings through the rationalisation of the Council’s property estate
- Reducing carbon footprint and generating income through strategic energy projects



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