Council agrees 2017-18 budget

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Published: Thursday 16 Feb 2017 by Fife Council

 

Today (Thursday February 16) members of Fife Council agreed on ways to save money to balance its budget whilst investing to deliver essential services, despite ongoing financial challenges in the public sector.


Fife Council has made savings year on year, but reduced funding and increasing demand for services means the budget gap will keep growing, reaching an estimated £109.2million in three years.


The revenue budget for 2017-18 identifies savings worth £25m and outlines additional investment of £5.4m in local facilities and services to strengthen Fife’s communities. This includes increasing council tax by 3%.


Council Leader David Ross said: “This is a challenging time for the Council but we are determined to protect local services as far as we can, although this may mean delivering services in a different way.


“Increasing council tax will provide £4.4m at a time when funding cuts for councils across Scotland are more severe than ever.”


The council has agreed savings of £25m to be made in 2017-18, which include:

  • £3m by managing vacancies and reducing spend on supplies and services across the council.
  • £7.25m efficiency savings from a new programme of work to help the council change and modernise, including:
    • a more commercial approach to procurement and contract management
    • using more mobile technology to improve productivity benefits
    • improving online customer processes
    • using more demand analytics to better understand and reduce costs
  • £3m saving from supply teaching costs by reallocating existing teachers to cover classes on a permanent basis.


“We cannot pretend that things can continue as they are,” said Councillor Ross. “But I’m very pleased that, despite the financial challenges, we have still managed to identify some additional funding for projects to tackle poverty and support the most vulnerable people in our community.


“This year the council will invest over £5m in activities such as supporting young carers, funding residential drug rehabilitation programmes, expanding breakfast and lunch club provision, supporting Women’s Aid and trialling a new way to maintain local parks, streets and open spaces. These investments have incorporated suggestions from all political parties.”


Council tax in Fife will increase by 3% - this means the charge for a band D property will increase from £1,118 annually to £1,151.54.


The Scottish Government has also changed the way that council tax for bands E to H is calculated, which means that bills for these households will increase by more than 3%. The council has no control over this part of the increase.


There are new eligibility criteria for council tax reduction for households in bands E to H – if you are single and earn less than £16,750 a year, or if your combined household income is less than £25,000 you may be entitled to financial assistance. See more information about the changes to council tax.

 

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