Inverclyde Council has approved its budget for next year.
The council’s overall budget of £218m and a three-year capital budget to fund infrastructure costs of nearly £62m was approved at a meeting today (24 February 2022).
At the budget meeting, a 1.95 per cent council tax increase for Inverclyde was also agreed which increases the Band D level by £25.97 to £1,357.81.
The budget includes additional support to low-income families of an extra £300 payment to approximately 10,000 households in receipt of council tax reduction and those exempt from paying council tax to help with the cost of living increases.
Inverclyde Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said: “I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement this year with five of the six groups on the council. I knew it was always going to be a challenge to achieve unanimity and so it has proved.
“Yet again this year has brought a very poor financial settlement from the Scottish Government for local government.
“COSLA has estimated the overall recurring real-terms cut to councils’ core revenue funding in 2022/23 to be £371m. Inverclyde’s share of that cut is approximately £5.5m. Without this cut, our job of balancing the budget would have been immeasurably easier.
“The agreement reached will see the council’s remaining £6m budget gap for 2022/23 closed through the use of £4m of reserves, savings and budget adjustments totalling just under £1.4m and a below-inflation council tax increase of 1.95 per cent, which will raise just over £620,000.
“The budget tries to strike a balance between cuts to services and jobs, increases in charges for services and a rise in council tax. Without the use of £4m of reserves, these would have been significantly greater.
“A further £2m of reserves has been set aside to assist the new council with the huge challenge it will face next year to balance the budget.
“While those who pay full council tax will face a small increase in their charge, over 32,000 or 81 per cent of households in Inverclyde will actually pay less in council tax than they did in the current financial year due to the Scottish Government’s £150 rebate scheme.
“For those in the higher banded properties that don’t qualify for the rebate weekly increases will range from 66p to £1.22.
“In addition for the 10,000 households that are either in receipt of council tax reduction or exempt from council tax, and therefore aren’t affected by the council tax increase, the budget agreement makes provision for a one-off payment of £300 to each of these households at a cost of £3m to the council. Most of these households will also receive the Scottish Government payment of £150 meaning that in total they will receive the support of £450 to help them will the rising cost of fuel bills and other household essentials.
“The total support for households in Inverclyde from these two measures is around £8m.
“Despite ongoing cuts to our capital grant from the Scottish Government, we will still have a significant three-year capital programme with a total investment of around £62m planned,” he added.
The full budget details are available on the council website at www.inverclyde.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/2433 and the budget meeting is available to watch on the council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/InverclydeCouncil.