How we spend your Council Tax

Councillor John Ross

John Ross
Leader of the Council

This is the fifth year it has been my privilege to use this message to keep the residents of South Lanarkshire informed about how we provide their services.

We do this because we have an absolute commitment to openness and providing clear information, and so every year we explain exactly how we spend the public money we are entrusted with, and particularly how we invest the Council Tax that is contributed by local households.

It is perhaps worth noting at the outset that South Lanarkshire has for some years now set the lowest Council Tax rates in all of mainland Scotland.

While the Council Tax freeze that had been maintained by local authorities with the support of the Scottish Government came to an end this year, we managed to limit the increase to 2.5% when our 2022-23 Budget was approved on 23 February.

I appreciate any rise, however small, will be unwelcome to many people, but this was a reduction from an initial figure of 3.5%. It is also well below inflation and one of the smallest in Scotland. It is a balancing act, and this limited increase will help us deliver our services and invest in the local area.

Full details of how we do this can be found in our Council Tax financial information 2022-23 section Council Tax financial information 2022-23 but, to offer some highlights, in a typical year we will spend our budget on:

  • teaching more than 24,852 primary pupils in our new schools
  • teaching more than 20,075 secondary school pupils in new school buildings
  • providing 7,955 Early Learning and childcare places
  • caring for 3,700 older people and adults at home
  • looking after more than 1,891 older people in care homes
  • collecting waste every week from more than 154,000 households
  • maintaining 2,295km (1,426 miles) of roads

I am pleased to report that the budget for 2022-23 sought to add to all this, making more than £7 million available for new investments. We used some of this to cover the costs of reducing the Council Tax increase.

But additional resources will also be targeted at pavement repairs, tackling fly tipping, early intervention to promote the wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people, grants for community-led projects, and cash to support and value the work of the area’s volunteers.

South Lanarkshire is the fifth largest council in Scotland, and in total we will spend more than £833 million in 2022-23 on general services on behalf of our residents. As in previous years, our biggest area of spend will be on providing education services.

We also have two major capital programmes for 2022-23 that will see the council make long-term investments in the area, courtesy of an injection of £82.284m into general services projects and a further £52.230m through our housing capital programme.

These will see investments in the area’s roads, libraries, community alarm system, schools and active travel, and also improvements in council house central heating, better windows and insulation, which will help tenants reduce bills and help tackle the climate emergency.

I am very pleased of what we have achieved in this budget, not least because the council is still dealing with the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic. This continues to have an impact on some of our services, and the financial implications will be with us for years to come.

I am proud that, despite these pressures, a working group of four out of five of the political groups came together to deliver a budget that is not only balanced but does so much to protect and strengthen our communities.