East Ayrshire Council to raise council tax and rents
East Ayrshire Council has agreed its budget for 2020/21, agreeing a 4.84% rise in council tax and a 1.5% increase in council house rents.
The council tax rise equates to £1375.35 for band D households, in line with Scottish Government recommendations. The council house rents increase equates to £1.10 per week and fees and charges for council services will increase by at least 2.5%.
Despite being faced with a set of constantly changing financial variables over the last few weeks, the council said it remains fully committed to its vision for a fairer, kinder, connected East Ayrshire and will continue to support its main strategic priorities:
- Improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people
- Tackling social isolation for older people
- Enable community-led regeneration
- Challenge child poverty
The council said it had been careful to ensure that these priorities will not be compromised by the 2020/21 budget proposals, despite having to reduce costs by £10.6 million for the coming year.
Councillor Elena Whitham, depute leader, said: “I am the first to acknowledge that this is not a good financial settlement for local government but even after making the necessary savings, we will still deliver improvements to services that will bring life changing benefits to children and families across East Ayrshire.
“From August 2020 all parents and carers will benefit from 1140 hours of free pre-school childcare, available in new and refurbished early childhood centres across East Ayrshire. This will improve the life chances of both children and their parents, and create 300 new jobs at the same time.
“New school counselling services will promote early and preventative action on mental health.
“Over the next 10 years, £61m will be spent improving our roads and bridges network, with investment of £8m in each of the next three years
“£10m is being made available to move care closer to the community with the creation of a new Wellbeing Hub in Kilmarnock Town Centre in collaboration with the NHS to move care closer to the community.
“We have also taken the decision to freeze charges for Day Care Services and to scrap charges for Respite Care. £45k has been allocated for the extension of the Play in Prison initiative until August 2021, to allow for continuity while a service review to takes place.
“Our commitment to tackle climate change is clear, with an allocation of £5m towards new energy efficiency and carbon reduction projects; this in addition to the £24.5m we will spend with the UK government to make East Ayrshire a national centre for energy research and development. Our young people will play a key role in helping to tackle this agenda, building on the remarkable awareness of the challenges ahead which they demonstrated so clearly at our Climate Change Conference late last year.
“I believe that this budget demonstrates our absolute commitment to those who need our services, our firm belief in those who work for us to deliver them, and our enduring confidence in the ability, capacity and readiness of our communities to work in partnership with us.”