Budget update 2018/19

Work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds.

The Scottish Government’s proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017. Whilst this provided greater certainty over proposed figures there are still a few queries that remain to be resolved and there is the potential for amendment to secure parliamentary approval. Notwithstanding this, over the last few weeks, work has been ongoing with the Administration Budget Team of elected Members to prepare a list of savings options for all members to consider.

The Council is facing a Budget Gap for 2018/19 of £25.8m. This comprises:

 

£m

Provision for Pay, Price and Contract Inflation

8.1

Budget pressures

8.3

Cut in Scottish Government Grant Funding

9.4

 

25.8

What the detail shows is that it costs more each year to continue to provide the wide range of services that the Council does. The cut in core grant funding represents an additional challenge.

The Council has been working for some time to identify savings and income opportunities through a five workstreams including Efficiencies, Prioritisation, Income Generation, Commercialisation and Redesign. Staff from across the Council have been involved in identifying ideas for savings and redesign to make our services more affordable.

Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: “The Administration Budget Team is considering a range of proposals to achieve a balanced budget and these are being discussed with Members and Trade Unions. These proposals consist of additional income totalling £6.9m (including a 3% Council Tax increase) and reductions in spending totalling £14.1m. This still leaves a residual balance of savings to be identified of £4.8m.

“£25.8 million is a huge cut to our budget and comes after we have already managed a cut of £20 million to our budget in efficiencies over the past year. We are also unable to increase council tax beyond 3% without Scottish Government penalties. This leaves us very few places to turn to find more savings of this magnitude. There will be no option but to cut services and to charge more for what we provide.”

Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson added: “Although every effort is being made to achieve a balanced budget without impact on staff numbers, unfortunately this will not be achievable across the whole organisation.  I appreciate this is a worrying time for everyone, however, we are committed to do all that we can to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible. The Council has a very good track record of minimising compulsory redundancies. This has been achieved by working in partnership with Trade Unions to optimise the use of vacancies and turnover to achieve successful redeployment outcomes.”

No final decision on budget proposals will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.

12 Jan 2018
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