Angus Council has approved its budget for 2019/20. A wide ranging package of measures was agreed to ensure the council can support its communities to be strong, resilient and citizen-led, while tackling a £15.3m funding gap.
Following the budget setting meeting (21 February) Deputy Leader and Finance Convener, Angus Macmillan Douglas said council finances remained under extreme pressure and as such, it has never been more important for Angus Council to be an efficient, effective organisation working closely with partner agencies and local communities to protect frontline services.
Cllr Macmillan Douglas said: “We will be a smaller, highly-prioritised Angus Council – a council that is run in the most effective way possible.
“The more we can improve the productivity of Angus Council, the better we are able to protect essential services for all residents in the face of punishing funding cuts. The more that we can help our citizens and our communities to help themselves, the more we, as a council, can prioritise the delivery of essential services to those people and communities that need them most.”
“Over the past six years the council has had to find savings of £43 million to manage the reduction in Scottish Government funding to us as a council whilst at the same time incurring rising costs due to inflation and increasing costs as a consequence of a higher demand in essential services. Over the next 3 years, we are likely to have to find another £36m which means that Angus Council will have had to find £80m in total over a 9 year period. This amounts to some 30% of our total net expenditure.
“It is a long-term issue that requires long-term solutions. It vital that we reduce our costs and increase income where we can in a meaningful and sustainable way so we can meet our statutory obligations and address the priorities we have set for the council.
“We will invest in areas that can make our communities stronger, resilient and more self-sufficient. Angus Council will continue to become a smaller, but more-focused, effective and efficient service provider. We will challenge expenditure wherever it is considered unnecessary or expensive and improve productivity to ensure that every pound Angus Council spends provides value for money for Angus and our citizens.”
Spending for the year ahead includes:
- £107m on our schools and learning services
- £18m on our children and families
- £47.5m through the Angus Health & Social Care Partnership for the provision of adult and older people services
- £18m on our roads, transport and property services
- £22m on our waste, parks, planning and protective services
- £13.5m on servicing loans - money borrowed in previous years to fund capital expenditure.
- £5m on culture, leisure and sports services (mainly via Angus Alive).
Investment priorities in 2019-20 are aimed at reducing costs and raising revenue include –
- £649,500 to support vulnerable families
- £50,000 on artificial intelligence to assist on-line transactions
- £100,000 in increasing modern foundation/graduate apprenticeships
- £750,000 additional funding to improve road surfaces
- £180,000 to help maximise Tay Cities Deal opportunities for Angus
- £80,000 in holiday meals for school age children
- £200,000 in review and reduction of council estate and commercialisation
We took the decision not to make things more challenging for households by increasing Council Tax to the maximum permitted by Scottish Government. Instead we held to an increase of 3% ensuring Angus Council remains as one of the lowest places for Council tax in Scotland. A 3% increase in council tax, in 2019/20 equates to a £34.12 increase in the Band D Council Tax, roughly £2.84 per month. This increase will generate an additional £1.58m in 2019/20.
The Council’s Change Programme is on track to deliver approximately £20m of savings and productivity improvements. It will continue to reduce the funding gap through a wide range of improvement and efficiency measures and service redesigns in 2019/20.