Council agrees 2022/23 budget
South Ayrshire Council has today (Thursday 3 March) agreed a budget which protects frontline services and invests in vital areas such as social care and education.
We have utilised £3.1 million from our uncommitted reserves to ensure our frontline services are protected and can continue to operate for our residents, and have also allocated £250,000 from our general reserves on a one-off basis to assist in alleviating the financial insecurities of those most in need. The Scottish Government have provided an additional £2.6 million of non-recurring funding, but despite this, we still face the situation where costs continue to rise due to inflation, and our funding doesn't take these factors into account.
Councillors have agreed an investment of £88.175 million for vital services delivered by the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership. This is an increase of 11% on last year, and means our residents can continue to grow well, live well, and age well.
We're investing £6.6 million in education, which will help us to continue to close the attainment gap in South Ayrshire and make sure our children and young people have the best possible start in life.
We're building a better South Ayrshire for future generations with our commitment to a green recovery, and are investing £1.8 million in a brand new, net zero building in Girvan. We're also going cleaner and greener with a further investment in our electric fleet vehicles.
Our continued shared investment with the UK and Scottish Governments of £91.2 million until 2030 in the Aerospace and Space Programme of the Ayrshire Growth Deal will boost Scotland's space industry ambitions, create an important strategic asset for the UK, and most importantly help to improve our local economy.
We're continuing our commitment to Capital Investment, and £460 million will be allocated to a range of projects from 2022/23 to 2033/34. This investment will benefit our communities and covers projects including an extension to the Early Years Centre at the Space Place in Prestwick, an upgrade to the science department at Kyle Academy, and a brand-new gym facility at Prestwick Swimming Pool.
Providing vibrant, modern and engaging places for our children and young people to learn is one of our main priorities, and we're further realising this ambition with the new Maybole Community Campus, Prestwick North Education Campus, and Sacred Heart Primary School in Girvan which are all set to open their doors to pupils later this year.
Our funding also allows for investment in projects within a range of other programmes, including Community Facilities, ICT and the Ayrshire Roads Alliance.
Following a review of a number of options, councillors made the difficult decision to increase Council Tax by 2.9%. While this may not be welcome news to our residents, it is below the current rate of inflation and will ensure we can continue to deliver the services our communities rely on. Households in bands A-D, and those in bands E-F who are entitled to a Council Tax reduction will receive £150 rebate for 2022/23, funded by the Scottish Government. This will be included in eligible Council Tax bills for next year.
Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Peter Henderson said: "We have again delivered a balanced budget that will help us to continue to make a difference to the people of South Ayrshire.
"We face new challenges every step of the way as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but I'm confident that we have allocated our resources to ensure our priorities are not compromised."
"The decision to raise Council Tax is not one that was taken lightly. I know that the increase may not be welcomed, however, we have reviewed every possible option, and it is a vital step to protect our essential services and allow us to continue to be there for the people who need us most."
Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Brian McGinley said: "I'm pleased that we have been able to deliver a fair budget that demonstrates our continued commitment to investing in our communities.
"Although we have had to make some difficult decisions, we will continue to invest in services that will ensure South Ayrshire is one of the best places to live, work or visit.
"We have performed our very best to keep increases below inflation and are very mindful of the additional financial burdens being placed on residents. The Council is committed to developing longer term financial plans to help ensure more stable and sustainable local funding cycles going forward."
You can read more about our 2022/23 budget on our https://www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/27376