The City of Edinburgh Council has set their 2018/19 budget outlining a 3% rise in council tax and more money allocated to health and social care, homelessness, school buildings and support for lowest earning families.
Almost £200m has provisionally been allocated for Health and Social Care services – an increase of nearly £13m in resources available to the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board. Funding of £8.5m will bring improvements across the Council’s property estate, including schools. Initiatives to tackle homelessness will receive a £2m boost this year and there is a further £1m to continue the current year’s investment on waste and cleansing.
The budget also includes an additional £400,000 for lower income families – creating a holiday hunger fund so children can benefit from a school meal outwith term time as well as increasing uniform grants.
Several projects benefitting residents include signifcant investment in cultural venues – refurbishing the King’s Theatre, re-opening the Leith Theatre and contributing towards construction of a new concert hall for Edinburgh as part of the City Region Deal – plus a £10m care home and provision of £1m for upgrading and creating play parks.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said:
When forming the coalition, we pledged to deliver improved services for residents and communities over the next five years. We have taken opportunities in this, our first budget, to do things differently and invest in key areas, delivering on our 52 Coalition commitments.
We are committed to protecting frontline services and maintaining investment in areas which will provide more support for our most vulnerable residents and despite an uncertain financial climate we have set a balanced budget for Edinburgh, as well as securing funds for improvements throughout the city.
Councillor Marion Donaldson, Vice-Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said:
As with other local authorities across the country, we are facing challenging times but I’m pleased that thanks to prudent financial management we have been able to set a balanced budget while continuing to look out for our citizens’ best interests.
Thanks to the feedback gained during the budget engagement process we have been able to make decisions such as keeping the Night Noise Team, we will provide more funding to Edinburgh Leisure than originally planned and we will offer exemptions on paying for garden waste collections.
The Council has a strong track record of effective financial management, having already saved £240m in the past five years by working more efficiently and prioritising services.
This year the Council has a budget of almost £1bn (£989m) and will continue to prioritise investment in key frontline services and outcomes while making savings of £28m.
The council tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2018/19 will be:
A – £826.79
E – £1,629.47
F – £2,015.31
G – £2,428.71
H – £3,038.47
Find out more about the Council Budget process online.