The City of Edinburgh Council approved it’s budget for 2015/16 on Thursday. The budget, which has £22 million of savings, followed several months of public consultation.
The protection of young, old and vulnerable residents, major investment in roads and pavements, investing in school infrastructure and working towards the redevelopment of Meadowbank Sports Centre and Stadium were key priority areas.
Cllr Alasdair Rankin, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said:
Given the financial challenges all local authorities are facing over the next few years, we want to invest in the areas that are essential to Edinburgh and so it is important that the public continue to tell us what is important to them.
This year we published the draft budget in October and 3,525 people gave us their views – five times the number of responses compared to last year. We also used a new online planner to give respondents the opportunity to express what they feel the Council’s priorities should be. The planner allowed us to show where we will incur costs in 2017/18, to demonstrate the impacts of increasing or decreasing spending in all of our services. This was extremely popular and 1,719 of those people took Edinburgh’s Budget Challenge.
Cllr Bill Cook, Vice-Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said:
We used the feedback received during the consultation process to help us make many key decisions such as maintaining funding for homelessness services, not increasing allotment charges and putting an extra £5m towards improving roads and pavements.
The eight successive year’s Council Tax freeze maintains Edinburgh’s band D rate as the lowest of Scotland’s four major cities.
The council tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2015/16 will be:
Key budget provisions include:
– Allocated an additional £5m of capital to support rising school rolls
– More than £4m invested in Early Years Change Fund for services for the very youngest children
– Maintaining funding for commissioned homelessness services
– Maintaining £1m to continue supporting the Edinburgh Guarantee, helping improve job opportunities for young people
– Support the Strategic Investment Fund with an additional £4.5m
– Continuing to invest in community policing
– Allocating an additional £100,000 to each neighbourhood to allow local people to have an even greater say in how their area can be improved
– An additional £5m investment in roads and pavements taking the total to £20m
– Commit 8% of the transport revenue and capital budgets for creation and maintenance of cycle infrastructure
– Delivery of procurement transformational efficiencies
– Implementing the Better Outcomes Leaner Delivery (BOLD) programme
– Reducing the head count of the organisation by developing existing staff, revising roles and responsibilities and implementing structural change in the organisation through the ’Organise to deliver’ programme
– Maximising income
– Maximising savings through the rationalisation of the Council’s property estate
– Reducing carbon footprint and generating income through strategic energy projects