Bud­get gains fi­nal ap­proval

Liv­ing wage rolled out from April 1

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

The 2016/17 rev­enue bud­get was fi­nally ap­proved at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil on Mon­day, as the lo­cal au­thor­ity ap­proved plans to pay the liv­ing wage to em­ploy­ees.

The £663m rev­enue bud­get, which sets out how money will be spent in ar­eas such as schools, roads, care homes and coun­cil hous­ing, out­lined pro­pos­als to pay coun­cil staff a min­i­mum of £ 8.44 per hour from April 1.

It will see the an­nual wages of the low­est-paid work­ers in­crease by £463, based on a 37-hour week.

Coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy said the lo­cal au­thor­ity wanted to con­tinue to ‘ lead the way’ on the liv­ing wage.

He spoke about the bud­get af­ter a spe­cial meet­ing of the coun­cil where it was also con­firmed lo­cal coun­cil tax rates will be frozen.

He said: “I have now been bal­anc­ing the coun­cil’s bud­get for 20 years and it has never been as dif­fi­cult as it was this year.

“How­ever, the ad­min­is­tra­tion and coun­cil of­fi­cials have worked hard to min­imise the im­pact and con­tinue to pro­tect the key front­line ser­vices that peo­ple de­pend on, es­pe­cially the Band A B C D E F G H young,young theelderlyandthe­vul­ner­a­blethe el­derly and the vul­ner­a­ble.

“I want to thank ev­ery­one who has played a part in this, in­clud­ing trade unions for tak­ing a con­struc­tive ap­proach and their sug­ges­tions, our coun­cil work­ers, and those political groups which of­fered their ideas.”

Coun­cil’s ap­proval of the rev­enue bud­get fol­lowed a meet­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee on Fe­bru­ary 24 at which a num­ber of con­tro­ver­sial sav­ing pro­pos­als, pre­vi­ously un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, were re­moved.

At that meet­ing, the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee ap­proved Mr McAvoy’s plan to con­tinue pro­vid­ing free trans­port for pupils who live more than two miles from school, and to keep fund­ing trans­port pro­vi­sion for vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions.or­gan­i­sa­tions

The coun­cil leader won ap­proval to scrap other sav­ings, in­clud­ing so­cial work clo­sures, and cuts to fund­ing for gala days and also for Christ­mas light­ing.

The rev­enue bud­get con­firms education, and par­tic­u­larly schools, as the coun­cil’s big­gest fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, with £ 311m in spend­ing ex­pected this year.

So­cial work ac­counts for £133m, while £ 102m is al­lo­cated to com­mu­nity and en­ter­prise re­sources to de­liver ser­vices such as roads, leisure, and waste col­lec­tions and re­cy­cling.

More than £24m will go to­wards hous­ing and tech­ni­cal re­sources.

Of­fi­cials have worked hard to min­imise the im­pact

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