Published Wednesday, 28 February 2018
South Lanarkshire Council has approved a budget set to provide a massive boost for the young, older people and most vulnerable.
The budget will mean 65 more teachers and classroom assistants will be recruited for local schools, while 50 additional staff will be trained to work in nurseries and another 50 to help care for the elderly.
More local pupils will also receive free school meals and clothing grants, while plans will progress to introduce breakfast clubs in schools and free lunches during the holiday periods.
Approval of the budget was welcomed by Council Leader John Ross, who said: “A lot of hard work and thought has gone into preparing a budget which makes the very best use of the resources available to the council.
“And what could be better use than making sure that we do everything we can to give our young people the best start in life, make sure those who need it most are fed and clothed, and in doing so help close the attainment gap?
“This budget does all this and more, thanks in part to an improved financial position due to our Scottish Government grant being better than anticipated, but also, because the council is well-run and we have been able to target efficiencies which do not hit frontline services.
“The result is what I think most people will agree is the most progressive budget for South Lanarkshire Council for many years. By transforming and modernising our services we will continue to make sure that resources are available to help transform lives, especially those of the youngest, eldest and most vulnerable in our communities.”
The budget was approved in a package of reports presented to the Executive Committee today, with key parts and a 3% increase in Council Tax then also approved by the full Council.
The package included auto enrolment for pupils who are entitled to free school meals and clothing grants. The latter will also rise by 50% to £75.
The budget also included a reduced package of savings and efficiencies for 2018/19 totalling £15.245m across the council.
An ambitious £126.478m capital programme for 2018/19 and 2019/20 was also approved for the council. Among other projects, this will continue the £850m-plus primary schools modernisation programme and the £126m Roads Investment Programme.