Scottish Borders Council administration outlines budget

Scottish Borders Council - Image by Jim Barton The council administration said it had tried to ensure a "high level" of services for the region

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Scottish Borders Council's ruling administration has outlined its budget plans for the coming financial year.

The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and independent-run authority had already agreed to keep council tax frozen.

The plans would see no compulsory redundancies while trying to deliver just short of £4m in savings.

SBC leader David Parker said the proposals protected frontline services while investing in important services including the region's roads.

The administration said it was trying to ensure a "high level" of provision in the face of "on-going funding pressures".

Depute leader Neil Calvert said they had sought to produce a "balanced budget" despite decreasing funding.

SBC administration's key budget proposals for 2012/13

  • No council tax increase
  • No compulsory redundancies
  • Pupil-teacher ratios maintained in P1 to P3
  • £1.1m extra for "looked after" children
  • £400,000 extra investment on roads
  • £200,000 on the fabric of school classrooms
  • Policing levels protected
  • £4.3m for flood protection
  • £4.2m on waste management
  • £7.5m on new West Linton Primary
  • £3.5m for Duns Primary relocation
  • £3.9m on sports facilities at Peebles High School
  • £8.4m investment in broadband

He said many services were now being delivered more "effectively and efficiently" following successive service reviews.

Fellow depute leader Alec Nicol added: "We recognise that the next few years will continue to be challenging but we have demonstrated that we are well placed to meet these challenges."

Mr Parker said it was a budget which put the council on a "sound financial footing" while preparing for future challenges.

He added: "In particular, I want to thank the council staff as their decision to accept a total pay freeze has benefited the Borders public as we are not having to make some of the more difficult cuts that other local authorities are announcing."

Overall the authority is looking to deliver a little short of £4m in efficiency savings.

The administration hopes these can be achieved through early retirement and voluntary redundancies as well as reduced travel, service and supply costs.

It is also looking to make savings from a library and contact centre review, the rationalisation of properties and reduced staff training as well as a cut in spending on back office staffing and processes.

The proposal put forward by the administration will have to be ratified by the full council on 9 February.

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