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North Ayrshire Council approves 2024/25 Revenue Budget

Posted on 29 Feb 2024

North Ayrshire Council has approved its Budget for 2024/25 after a meeting of Elected Members.

This was widely recognised as one of the most challenging budgets the Council has had to set in recent times.

Council Tax has been frozen at 2023/24 levels, with funding provided by the Scottish Government based on a five percent increase.

Meeting on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Elected Members approved a budget which had a clear focus on measures to help residents while maintaining frontline services and protecting jobs as much as possible.

Councillor Christina Larsen, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, said: “The main challenge facing the Council is that the funding we receive is not keeping pace with increasing costs such as wage increases, and the rising costs of energy and materials. This is happening at a time when we face a greater demand for our services.

“Being able to maintain all services at current levels gets more difficult every year therefore the focus for all elected members was delivering a Budget which supports residents, and also minimises any negative impact on our communities.

“The Cost-of-Living Crisis is still with us, and the Council is not immune to its effect, meaning this may well be the most challenging budget in recent years.

“We will continue to work tirelessly as a Council to support our residents and deliver the type of services which they need and when they need it.”

Following consideration, elected members voted 21-9 for a Budget which proposed a series of measures.

The motion which was passed agreed not to introduce a charge for the collection of garden waste. It also earmarks funds to be invested in a Business Recovery and Sustainability Fund, Community Wealth Building, and towards school welfare rights officers. In addition, there will also be an additional £750,000 towards the roads budget. These initiatives will be funded through finance originally earmarked towards a town centre fund.

Additionally, members agreed to remove the potential option of making savings in primary and secondary school staffing.

For 2024/25, the Council received a £2.19m reduction in core grant funding from the Scottish Government, worth about 0.64 per cent of its overall Budget.

The increasing demand for services and rising costs meant that cuts were required to bridge the funding gap of £15.974m.

The £427million Revenue Budget for 2024/25 was particularly challenging with the Council having made more than £120m of savings over the previous 13 years.

While Council Tax has been frozen at 2023/24 levels, it was agreed that the Council’s fees and charges should rise by five per cent from April 1.

It is anticipated that the equivalent of 79.5 full-time equivalent posts will be removed. North Ayrshire Council has a policy of no compulsory redundancies, therefore it is anticipated that this will be managed through natural turnover, vacancies, redeployment and voluntary early release.