Building a fairer Renfrewshire while supporting the Council’s financial sustainability was the central focus of the budget agreed today (Thursday 2 March 2023).
The £483.2million Renfrewshire Council budget brings together £5million in funding for people most in need through the Fairer Renfrewshire programme.
This includes more money for the Scottish Welfare fund and for Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau as well as a summer activity programme with a healthy meal for children and young people from low income families and a winter school clothing payment.
Significant investment in roads and footpaths also continues through a £6.7million boost as well as funds to improve road safety in Renfrewshire villages.
And a £1,000,000 fund will promote community collaboration and better wellbeing while supporting Renfrewshire’s net zero targets.
There was also a commitment to protect the ongoing five-year, £424.2million capital investment programme which includes transforming Paisley town centre cultural venues and improving transport links across the area.
A 6% Council Tax increase from 1 April 2023 was agreed alongside a below inflation 5% increase in service charges.
Balancing the budget is supported by £8.3million of savings and using up to £11million of reserves.
Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, said: “Our budget builds a fairer Renfrewshire and supports the council’s financial sustainability.
“Setting this year’s budget has been hugely challenging, against a backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and the continuing long-term impact of the pandemic creating sustained hardship in many of our communities.
“Like all households in Renfrewshire, the council is managing unprecedented cost increases, to energy bills, material and fuel costs, the cost of care and everything from paying our staff to the price of a school meal.
“Considerable service redesign has contributed to savings supporting this budget, building on more than £160million saved by the Council since 2010 and we are acutely aware more difficult decisions are ahead over the coming years to protect vital services.”
The budget also includes £450,000 in play areas and the expansion of the concessionary swim programme to pre-school children.
Cultural groups and organisations will benefit from £200,000 to replenish the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund which has supported 135 different creative projects in recent years.
There is also funds to increase the foster and kinship care allowance by 10%.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We’re investing more in children, young people and their families, making sure we put money into the pockets of people who need it most.
“Fostering and kinship care has a hugely positive impact on a child’s future and so it’s vital we acknowledge the vital role they play.
“Replenishing the hugely popular cultural fund, investment in our villages and more money for play areas builds on significant investment in recent years benefiting every council area.
“And we are proud to be protecting the capital investment programme which is bringing new jobs and opportunities and making Renfrewshire a great destination to live, visit, work and invest in.”