Glasgow City Council today (Thursday 16 February 2017) agreed a budget that safeguards local services and invests in cleansing, child care and communities.
Despite facing a funding gap of £53 million in the new financial year, the city will increase spending in a number of key areas – relying on a major programme of back-office reforms and efficiencies to deliver savings.
Members also backed a 3% increase in Council Tax, the first since 2005, to protect key services – and authorised the use of financial reserves and capital to deliver environmental improvements and invest in the city’s infrastructure.
Today’s budget will also cut the cost of childcare for working parents on lower incomes – providing more free hours at council-run nurseries and new school-holiday programmes in many communities.
Council leader Frank McAveety said: “Local government budgets are under extreme pressure, but we have delivered a people’s budget that delivers on the priorities of Glaswegians. Our budget protects funding for local groups and continues to fund jobs, training and apprenticeships through the Glasgow Guarantee.
“We will safeguard our Affordable Warmth Dividend for our oldest citizens – and no new or increased charges for bulk uplifts, garden maintenance or school meals.
“Glasgow’s budget also delivers new investment in cleansing, childcare and infrastructure in our communities – with money for cleaner streets, improved refuse collection and investment in roads and footways.
“Over the last two years, we have been working with community groups and citizens to better understand what services they value and what role they want the council to play in their neighbourhoods.
“Again and again, they have prioritised these areas. We have listened and, today, we have delivered.”
Key projects funded in today’s budget for the next year include:
- A £6 million programme for street cleaning and environmental enforcement – continuing funding for the city’s Environmental Task Force and putting 140 new frontline staff to work in communities to get city streets cleaner and safer. The additional cash will also fund more enforcement to deal with individuals and businesses that blight neighbourhoods with litter and fly tipping.
- £6.5 million to replace 50,000 old-fashioned galvanised bins with modern alternatives at tenements, citywide.The investment, which includes funding to improve access to properties, will improve performance and help householders maintain back courts and common areas.
- The replacement of outdated blaes sports pitches at five city secondary schools with quality modern facilities at a cost of £2.5 million.
- A new capital investment of £8 million in Glasgow’s roads – replacing the increased budget brought forward into the current year and resurfacing 81km of our network, including 45km of residential streets, to wipe out another 12,000 potholes.
- £5 million for pavements and footways, to support active travel and help the most vulnerable Glaswegians get around their communities. The investment will resurface around 80km of the network – cutting the cost of emergency repairs and reducing personal injury claims.
- Thousands of new LED streetlights and replacements for ageing steel columns – in residential areas, on strategic routes and around schools and public places – as part of a £2.5 million programme to begin this summer.
- Invest £4 million in targeted maintenance for Glasgow’s community facilities and open spaces – including play areas.
- A £2 million deal to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.This step will see the number of free hours available at council-run nurseries increase from 600 hours up to 800 hours, for working parents with a household income below £25,000 – and the introduction of school holiday programmes in 10 of the city’s most deprived areas.
- The council will also accelerate work currently underway to address gaps in childcare provision across the city – providing seed funding to support the development of a co-operative model.
- Build a new cycle and footbridge between Oatlands and Glasgow Green – replacing the demolished Polmadie Bridge and restoring a critical part of the city’s walking and cycling network.