Scottish Borders Council

Council approves 2013/14 budget

Published on Thursday 7th February 2013

Budget

Plans agreed.

Faced with considerable funding pressures, elected members have been working closely with staff in order to put forward a set of proposals which would continue to protect front line services and deliver value for money for Borders residents.

All the proposals were reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Council's Administration Budget Working Group. 

Councillor David Parker, Leader of SBC said: "Today Council approved the Administration's five year revenue and 10 year capital funding proposals. Although it is a difficult economic climate with more demands placed on the Council than ever before, our financial proposals do allow us to continue to invest in high quality well run public services throughout the Borders. Once again we are able to freeze the council tax for the 6th year in a row and continue to deliver a significant but sustainable programme of transformation of council services."

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, Depute Leader added: "The Administration's budget agreed today is robust and affordable, and at its core protects the key service areas which are important to people in the Borders. Although the Council has a budget of around £250million we cannot meet every need and expectation, so it is important to focus on services which we are statutorily required to deliver, and deliver them to the highest possible standard. For example, we have provided additional funding of £1.3million for Social Work to ensure that we meet the needs of our growing elderly population, and give them the care that they deserve."  

Highlights of the revenue budget plans 

  • No council tax increase in 2013/14, which will be frozen at 2007/08 levels for the sixth successive year
  • No compulsory redundancies
  • A living wage of £7.50 for the lowest paid staff from April 2013
  • Maintaining the numbers of teachers employed by SBC in 2013/14
  • Provision of £6.5m to fund a range of inflationary and service cost pressures
  • An extra £1.4m budget per annum to address social work pressures in home care, learning disabilities and residential care
  •  An extra £6.26m to meet demographic pressures from the increasing number of elderly people and increasing number of vulnerable children - many of whom have complex social, emotional and behavioural needs.

 Highlights of the 10 year capital plan 

  • £51m Investment in roads, lighting and bridges - including £5m to upgrade street lighting with modern energy efficient lamps
  • Flood protection schemes - £10.4m including Galashiels and the Skip Running Burn in Jedburgh. 20% funding is also made available representing the Council's share of costs for flood prevention schemes for Hawick and Selkirk. 80% funding is anticipated from central government
  • Waste management - £5.9m
  • New Kelso High School - £18.5m
  • Improved sports facilities at Peebles High School - £4.3m
  • New synthetic sports pitch in Selkirk - £0.9m in 2015/16
  • Investment of £8.4m in broadband
  • £3.6m to be invested in social work property
  • £0.05m per annum to be invested in play facilities across the Borders
  •  £3.2m, largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to redevelop Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick
  • £4.4m for new computers in schools
  • £0.05m to help prevent falls in older people's homes.

SBC was faced with a funding gap in 2013/14 of around £3.8m due to issues such as pay protection for teachers, inflation pressures and the demands brought about by an increasing elderly population. A number of initial measures were proposed and approved in December 2012 to reduce this gap, including:

  •  A review of the Social Emotional and Behavioural Need Service (SEBN)
  • A review of social work business support services delivery model; all Social Care & Health Specialist Support Services and Social Work night-time support service
  • A review of the SB Wardens Service with the proposal to cease the service by 2014/15
  • A review of Early Years delivery model as part of the implementation of the '600 hours' pre-school care and education package as part of the Children's Bill.

A number of further savings have been agreed today. These include changes to terms and conditions for staff, the development of an integrated waste strategy, a review of the school estate, and further integration of children's services.              

Find out more about the budget

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You can view the full council agenda and papers from the meeting today.

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