North Lanarkshire Council sets ‘difficult’ 2020/21 budget
North Lanarkshire Council has set its budget for 2020/21 amid a £31 million spending reduction.
The council has agreed to increase council tax by 4.84%, which equates to an equivalent of £1.08 per week for a Band D house.
Councillors rejected options which would have cut funding to music groups including the world champion North Lanarkshire Schools pipe band, and a reduction in the management fee to culture and leisure services in North Lanarkshire.
Members of the council also agreed to pass additional funding of £2m to adult health care and set community alarm charges at the national average of £3.40 per week rather than an option of £5.80 per week.
Councillor Jim Logue, leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We were faced with choices that no councillor wished to take. The fact is that local government revenue grant from the Scottish Government falls far short of the money required to continue to fund council services at current levels.
“So we had a difficult task. No councillor enters local government to make these kinds of cuts. However, the council has approved a budget which does its very best to protect the most vulnerable people in North Lanarkshire.
“Some savings we had to take are extremely difficult. For example, we have always been one of very few councils in Scotland not to charge for community alarms. We have had to increase the amount of money we charge for special waste uplifts, reduce green space maintenance and remove festive lighting funded by the council from town centres.
“However, we have also been able to reject some savings options and protect local communities. For example, we could have increased the limits which qualify pupils for free school transport. We could have removed breakfast clubs and all school crossing patrols. We could have removed the school of football at Braidhurst High School, and funding for schools bands including the world-champion North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band. All of these were rejected.”