Stirling Council have published the draft budget and proposals with recommendations to accept or reject the various proposals that you may have seen through the Big Conversation Survey.
Residents have been in touch with us to highlight concern over the future of our local library service in particular, but also community centres. See the Save our Libraries petition.
The Budget meeting will take place on the 29th of February and will be attended by our elected members.
The full press release from Stirling Council is as follows.
Stirling Council has published its draft budget for 2024-25 which includes a number of savings proposals to address a shortfall of over £16m.
councillors will consider and make the decisions on the budget at a special meeting of council next Thursday (29 Feb).
Stirling Council, like all other local authorities in Scotland, is facing an unprecedented financial challenge for a number of reasons including funding pressures, rising costs and inflation and increasing demand for services.
The savings proposals to plug the gap have been informed by feedback from residents who took part in the council’s ‘Big Conversation’, an important exercise featuring an online survey and a series of drop-in events across the council area.
Almost 700 people attended 24 events across the council area between August and December last year, which included eight larger events where members of the public could talk directly to services.
The budget reports, including the revenue budget and proposed capital programme, as well as the administration motions, can be downloaded here.
Stirling Council Leader Cllr Chris Kane said: “The budget-setting process has been hugely challenging for everyone involved, with mounting financial pressures forcing every council service to propose savings proposals to help achieve a balanced budget.
“No one wants to be in a position to be proposing cuts like these; but this is our financial reality, with rising costs and demand for delivering services. While it doesn’t make it any less painful, we are certainly not alone with councils across Scotland having to make very difficult choices.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in our ‘Big Conversation’ on the budget that started back in August 2023, whether that was taking part in the online survey, coming along to the drop-in events or writing to us on a number of issues. Your feedback, ideas and suggestions have been invaluable and have helped inform the proposals put forward.
“There will be no easy choices at next week’s budget meeting of all councillors, but it’s critical we keep Stirling Council on a firm financial footing to continue delivering the local services we all rely on.”
You can watch the budget-setting meeting and to find links to the agenda papers on the council’s online broadcasting platform.
For more information, including the equality and socio-economic impact documentation for the council’s 2024-25 budget saving proposals, please visit stirling.gov.uk/bigconversation
Why does Stirling Council have an estimated budget shortfall of over £16m?
The council’s budget gap for 2024-25 was estimated to have been around £13million at the end of last year, a figure highlighted in our Big Conversation with residents. This has increased to due to new and ongoing financial pressures.
In Stirling Council nearly 79% of the budget comes from a Scottish Government grant and our share of the Government’s non-domestic rates or business rates, with the rest raised from council tax.
On 19 December, the Scottish Government published its Local Government Settlement for 2024-25 – the annual funding award for councils – which included funding for a potential council tax freeze.
COSLA, a cross-party organisation that is the voice of local government in Scotland, calculated this amounted to a cut in core revenue funding (the money used to deliver key services like bin collections, education and roads maintenance) for councils of £62.7m for 2024-25, meaning the funding offered for a council tax freeze only equated to a 2.8% rise. Last year, Stirling Council raised council tax by 7%.
An independent report published this month by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows funding available to Scottish councils will only go up by 1.8% in real terms next year, coming at a time when councils continue to face a perfect storm as demand for services increases along with the price of delivering them.
The report on the council’s budget says that once ring-fenced grants and new funding which come with spending commitments were removed, the council’s core grant allocation from the Scottish Government for 2024-25 decreased by £1.295m from last year.
It also highlighted that the Scottish Government draft budget provides £147m for the council tax freeze across all Scottish local authorities, with the council’s provisional share amounting to £2.923M, equating to a 4.9% increase in Council Tax.