Falkirk Council outlines £100m capital programme in ‘hardest ever’ budget

Falkirk_CouncilA £100 million spending programme designed to improve communities and services has been outlined by Falkirk Council for the next three years.

The capital programme, which will see continuation of existing projects as well as new ones started, was announced yesterday as the local authority agreed its budget for next year.

Spending plans over the next three years include:

  • £33.5m progressing the plans to bring more than £400m investment and 6000 jobs as part of the ambitious Tax Incremental Finance scheme (TIF) over the next 25 years.
  • £16.2m for a replacement for Carrongrange school;
  • £9.8m on roads and lighting improvements;
  • £2.1m for improvements to Denny Town Centre;

  • £4.2m flood protection plans in Grangemouth;
  • £3m investment in business property;
  • £1.8m on creating additional cemetery space;
  • £5.2m on improvements to schools including hall extensions and kitchen upgrades.

  • Overall the council revealed that around £25m of savings will have to be found in the next year to allow it to continue to provide local services and balance its £330m net revenue budget.

    Councillor Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “These projects and improvements are vital to the area and need to be progressed.

    “Our revenue budget allows us to function on a day to day basis covering costs such as wages, supplies and materials and is under a great strain and therefore we have to invest in our assets and infrastructure to ensure the area continues to thrive for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

    “The council’s revenue budget is facing real financial difficulties, and capital investment decisions impact on the revenue budget either through loan repayments or the costs of running our assets.

    “This capital programme has been prepared to ensure a balance is struck between continued investment in assets and infrastructure and making sure that the revenue budget is not put under further pressure.”

    A housing budget to improve and upgrade over 5,000 properties as part of the council’s ongoing commitment to meet national housing and energy standards in the next year was also agreed.

    This includes:

    • Re-roofing, roughcasting and other external improvements £8.7m;
    • Upgrading of electrics £2.3m;
    • Kitchen and bathroom replacements £2.2m;
    • Replacement heating systems £2.2m;
    • Estate landscape improvement works £0.5m.
    • In addition, £3.4m will be spent on delivering 82 new homes in Stenhousemuir, Denny and Falkirk and £6m will be allocated to continue to ‘buy-back’ around 80-90 former council properties, helping to meet the demand for council housing.

      Councillor Gerry Goldie, spokesperson for housing said: “We’re delivering a massive improvement programme that will continue to make a real difference to our tenants’ lives across the area.

      “We will be spending around £40m to maintain and improve our housing next year. This level of investment represents the third highest level of repair and improvement spending per house in Scotland.

      “We are continuing to ensure our rent levels are amongst the lowest in Scotland and that tenants rents are invested in ensuring that our properties are improved and meet national standards for quality and energy efficiency.”

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