The Council budget for 2022-2023 has been approved by elected members at a meeting on 22 February.
Significant investment to help communities prosper following the COVID-19 pandemic, increased social care funding to improve and expand services and funding to reduce the carbon footprint of the Council and help deliver savings have all been agreed.
Over £95million has also been committed to improve roads, bridges and pavements, whilst there is also funding for mobile CCTV and additional funds to be decided by and for local communities.
Further money, £500,000, has also been committed to helping events throughout the Borders, both big and small, to deliver fantastic community events following the pandemic.
The feedback of 765 people who completed a recent survey has been taken into account and is reflected in the budget, including supporting the area and the local economy to recover from the pandemic and tackling challenges in health and social care.
Other budget highlights include:
- additional funding for local culture and sport trusts
- funding targeted to accelerate road repairs
- £1.6m for new and improved outdoor community spaces in 2022/23 alone
- more than £130m to improve education facilities, including five new schools
Councillor Mark Rowley, Leader of the Council
“We have carefully considered the feedback submitted through the budget consultation and have delivered a budget that is focused on local priorities.
“Our communities and citizens are at the heart of what we do and we are committed to spending on the issues that matter to them.”
An £8.6m boost to funding for social work and social care and additional capital investment will see two new care facilities built within the region along with significant upgrades made to existing care facilities. As part of the tranche of investment, all social care staff will continue to be paid the Real Living Wage which is shortly to increase.
By prioritising locally-focussed investments, the Council aims to deliver for citizens by improving their wellbeing and making the region a more sustainable and better place to live, work in and to visit.
Councillor Shona Haslam, Executive Member for Finance and Budget Oversight
“Despite the financial pressures placed on us, we are prioritising projects that will make a real impact across each and every community in the Borders.
“It is far from an ideal situation having to increase the amount of Council Tax Borderers pay, especially given the hardships experienced by so many during pandemic and the steady increase to the cost of living. But, without this necessary increase, we would not be able to maintain the services we offer to the public at their current standard.
“And, following the funding pledge from the UK Government, the Scottish Government has given £150 for every household in Council Tax bands A-D. This will mean the vast majority, 72%, of Borderers will pay less next year. A band A property will pay 14% less Council Tax than last year.”
Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Depute Leader and Executive Member for Sustainable Development
“It’s incredibly important that we get the right balance with the budgets we set – helping address the most pressing issues we face in modern society.
“That’s why specifically targeted investment aimed at making the Council a more sustainable and climate friendly organisation whilst also aiding our drive towards net zero by 2045 is absolutely necessary at this point in time.
“That, along with significant investment in local initiatives, and increased community funding to deliver on key priorities in our localities will help us build a brighter future for younger generations.”
Full budget papers are available on our website