Published Thursday, 16 February 2017
Council Leader Eddie McAvoy today delivered on his key pledges not to increase Council Tax and to protect frontline services.
And as South Lanarkshire’s 2017/18 budget was passed Mr McAvoy went even further – unveiling plans to also double the council’s house building programme to 1,000 new homes.
Mr McAvoy, who is stepping down in May after 21 years as a councillor, said the budget left South Lanarkshire Council “in good financial standing”, despite years of battling with cuts in government grant.
He said: “Today’s budget does more than just keep our finances straight for the next year. They also set out some ambitious plans for South Lanarkshire’s future. The Capital Programme in particular lays out details of £255million in investment by 2020.
“This means we will replace three of our care homes, we will improve community facilities, such as replacing Balgreen Hall, and we will invest to make sure our school kids have access to the best IT equipment.
“We will also extend our roads improvement programme with another £5.5m and we will progress our City Deal projects. Our Community Growth Areas alone will help revitalise parts of Newton, East Kilbride, Hamilton and Larkhall.
“The investment in our area’s future doesn’t end there. We’ve already rebuilt almost all of our schools. I am now committing my party to another great investment in South Lanarkshire’s future – a massive extension of our council house building programme.
“New council homes are already being built in areas across South Lanarkshire, and current plans would see us build a total of 500 new homes by 2022. I am doubling that target. By 2022 South Lanarkshire Council will have built not 500 new homes but 1,000 new homes.”
The housing announcement came at a special meeting of the full council, at which a series of decisions were made. These included formal acceptance of previously tabled plans to balance the £673m budget while finding savings of £19m, and to continue the freeze on the Council Tax as controlled by the council.
The council also approved the Capital Programme 2017/18 to 2019/20 and the Housing Revenue and Capital Account Budget 2017/18, which set a 2% rent increase and continued the process of rent harmonisation across the area.
The council also agreed to set the Living Wage paid to employees at a minimum of £8.69 an hour.
Mr McAvoy said: “We have had to find £100m in efficiencies in recent years and this year we have had to find another £19m in efficiencies after the Scottish Government cut another £160m from Scotland’s local services.
“The council should always lead on the fight against austerity, but the only reason I have been able to take these positions on Council Tax and the Living Wage is because the council is well run and on a secure financial footing. I want to thank my colleagues and the council’s officers for their part in that.
“South Lanarkshire Council has always been well run. It has been run efficiently and we have always looked for best value for the public money we are entrusted with.”
For more information you can read the full suite of reports approved by the council today.