Published: Thursday, 20th December 2018
We will deliver a huge boost to the area after agreeing to progress ambitious plans to strengthen the Borders’ economy.
Councillors have today (Thursday 20 December) endorsed plans to invest in key components of the Tweedbank Masterplan to attract new residents and business into the area which will potentially create over 670 jobs.
Councillors also signalled the intention to approve a three per cent Council Tax increase from 1 April 2019, which would raise an additional £1.8m to support service provision and offset service reductions.
Residents are still being encouraged to take part in the Budget consultation by submitting ideas on how they think we can generate savings, increase income and do things differently via the Borders Dialogue tool. Our Budget will be presented for approval on 21 February 2019.
Councillor Shona Haslam, Council Leader
“We will always invest in essential projects like this, which can strengthen our economy and secure growth in the future. To fail to invest in our future would be to fail Borderers and our future generations.
“Like every local authority we face financial pressures, but at the same time we must not avoid making vital investment decisions such as in Tweedbank and the Lowood Estate.
“This decision is also in line with one of our key Corporate Plan themes, by ensuring we work with partners to create a thriving economy with opportunities for everyone.
“When we launched the budget consultation back in October, we were open about the fact that we have significant financial challenges which means we need to make savings and generate funds.
“We also made it clear that we are absolutely committed to making the most of what the Borders has, which means investing very carefully and delivering a range of projects that support and enhance our area. Managing a five year revenue budget of around £1.3billion and a ten-year capital budget of almost £300million must not just be about cost-cutting to make £11.1m savings next year.”
“It is important that Borderers understand that we have a capital budget to invest in infrastructure projects for the long term and revenue budgets to spend on day-to-day services.
“Our capital programme includes multi-million pound investment in new schools, roads, play-parks, flood protection schemes – projects that will improve the lives of Borderers.
“We cannot take funds out of the capital budget to help fund day-to-day expenditure on services such as street cleaning and social care. These are separate budgets with separate decision-making processes.
“We need to prioritise investment in those areas which we believe are in the best interests of our residents, our businesses and our communities.
“Moving forward, our capital investment plans will continue to contribute to the growth of our economy at this extremely important time. We will also continue to look very carefully at where we are spending our revenue money, while providing high quality services for all our residents, from the youngest to the oldest.”
Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development
“This is a vital time for the Borders. Our region relies on the Council making important decisions that will attract businesses, residents, investors and visitors to the area to strengthen our economy.
“The Council’s commitment to deliver growth at Tweedbank - maximising the opportunities provided by the Borders Railway - is very clear. Taking forward these projects with public and private sector partners demonstrates the progress we are making.”