Scottish Borders budget to prioritise roads, bridges and schools

Scottish Borders CouncilInvestment in roads, bridges, schools and flood protection works are among the key areas of focus as Scottish Borders Council (SBC) prepares to set its forthcoming budget this week.

The budget plans include a five year revenue plan of £1.3 billion and a ten year capital plan of £321 million.

The council’s ten year capital plan features:

  • £14.2m additional funding for essential works to roads and key bridges, taking roads capital funding to £67m over 10 years
  • £3.2m additional funding for the £38m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme
  • £0.4m additional funding to improve parks and open spaces
  • £0.5m funding to improve council commercial premises

  • £6.2m additional funding for energy efficiency works in the council estate, to improve the efficiency and reduce carbon emission
  • £7.5m additional investment to fund the works highlighted by the School Estate Review, taking total investment in the school estate to £77.7m over 10 years
  • £1.4m additional funding to upgrade adult services facilities, including council-owned care homes
  • £0.5m extra funding to upgrade council-owned public halls

  • £0.5m extra funding for a 3G sports pitch in Jedburgh
  • £0.8m to support the regeneration of Eyemouth
  • £0.8m investment to renew the waste management fleet.

  • Council leader David Parker said: “The budget we are putting forward on February 9 reflects our ongoing commitment to protect frontline services, and deliver significant investment for the Scottish Borders.

    “This includes maintaining teacher numbers in our schools for the next year, continuing our ambitious plans to attract people and businesses to locate here, modernising the way we work, and a capital programme which will benefit the whole of the region.

    “Like other local authorities, we are facing financial pressures as a result of decreasing public funding and increased demand on our services. However, thanks to our sound transformational and financial plans over many years, we are in a much better position than we might have been given the economic climate.”

    Since 2013, when the council’s original five year revenue plan was approved, SBC has delivered £26.7m of savings and continues to embark on its ambitious programme to ensure quality services are delivered in a challenging financial climate.

    The Local Government Settlement published on December 15 revealed a £8.362m (4.12%) reduction in funding from the Scottish Government for the council compared to 2016/17. The council aims to deliver £9.5m savings in 2017/18 and has identified a range of plans to achieve this.

    Last week it was revealed that the council will be awarded an extra £3.77m over the next year as part of the Scottish budget process.

    Councillor John Mitchell, depute leader of SBC with responsibility for finance, added: “Everyone is well aware that these are particularly difficult financial times. As a result, we continue to strive to become more streamlined, efficient and do things differently to allow quality services to be delivered to the public.

    “Once again, we are putting forward budget proposals which set out significant investment aligned to our priorities, in addition to areas where we can work more efficiently and make significant savings through continuing to modernise the organisation and our services.”

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