Council sets 2024-25 budget

Savings gap closed despite tough financial climate

Budget set for 2024-25

Published: 28 February 2024

East Renfrewshire Council has set its budget for 2024-25 and despite the ongoing difficult financial climate remains committed to continuing to deliver the best services possible for residents.

Council Leader Owen O'Donnell outlined the spending plans for the year ahead at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday 28 February.

With a budget gap of £12m, the council has used a range of measures to meet this challenge. In confirming a Council Tax freeze, Councillor O'Donnell highlighted that the compensation provided for this by the Scottish Government falls short of the fully-funded freeze promised.

In addition, although Council Tax has been frozen, Councillor O'Donnell pointed out that residents will still experience increased bills due to an 8.8% increase in charges from Scottish Water. The council is legally required to collect water charges on behalf of Scottish Water.

The Council Tax compensation and use of reserves meant £3.1m of savings are required for 2024/25.

Councillor O'Donnell said: 'The council has had to make difficult decisions about the services we deliver because of real-term cuts to the level of funding we receive from the Scottish Government and their decision to freeze Council Tax. Previously, many residents told us that you would be prepared to pay a little bit more in Council Tax to protect the services that mattered the most to you. A Council Tax freeze ignores local democracy, puts extra pressure on the council's finances and has robbed local politicians of the ability to take decisions based on local circumstances. Despite these challenges, we have set a budget which continues to prioritise the delivery of services which matter the most to our residents and our financial prudence over many years has served us well, allowing us to sensibly use reserves to help us close the gap. We continue to show ambition - in building new schools and leisure centres, in delivering new council houses, in spending extra money on resurfacing local roads and in protecting our much-loved green spaces.'

The grant settlement received from the Scottish Government was £239.7m which Councillor O'Donnell explained left East Renfrewshire with just a 1% increase on a like-for-like basis on last year's settlement. With inflation of 4%, it represents a real-terms cut in funding.

Councillor O'Donnell also outlined the significant capital projects which the Council has delivered, including a new Neilston Learning Campus, which opens next month, and our ambitious plans for a new Eastwood Leisure Centre.

He also highlighted that spending on projects to help local people hit by the Cost of Living Crisis passed the £7.5million mark during the year, with targeted support for low income families and those facing financial difficulties or homelessness.

Councillor O'Donnell added: 'Helping those most in need in our communities is a key priority. Despite the very real financial headwinds pushing against us, we remain determined to navigate and steer a course to a better future for us all.'

The SNP opposition proposed an alternative budget but following a vote, the Labour/Independent administration's Budget motion was approved and will now be taken forward by the Council.

Council Leader's speech

A transcript of the Leader's speech and the accompanying presentation slides are available below:

Council Leader's Budget speech 2024-25 (PDF) [367KB]

Budget presentation 2024-25 (PDF) [4MB]

Last modified on 5 March 2024