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Councillors have agreed on a budget for 2018/19. At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council today (Tuesday 27 February) Councillors agreed the Administration’s budget proposal including their saving options and policy development funding allocations.
The Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary permitted councils to raise council tax by a maximum of 3%. At today’s meeting, Councillors agreed to increase council tax in Dumfries and Galloway by 3%. This left a funding gap of £7.68m for 2018/19. To address this, two draft budgets were presented to councillors at the meeting – one from the Administration and one from the Conservative and Unionist group.
Following a robust debate and vote by councillors, the Administration’s budget was agreed.
Speaking after the committee meeting, Council Leader Elaine Murray said “I am pleased that our budget has been approved today. This budget is forward thinking and makes the best use of the resources we have. We will be transforming our customer experience through better use of digital technology, modernising service delivery and maximising service delivery. We will be changing how we consult to better inform out decision-making; listening to the people who use our services and empowering frontline staff to tell us what works well and what could be changed, to enable us to make the right decisions.
“I am particularly proud that we expanded our new anti-poverty funding today including new initiatives that are focussed on supporting children and young people living in poverty to be able to access the same opportunities as others including providing meals during school holidays and providing free sanitary products in schools. Both these measures will improve the quality of life experienced by many of our young people. It is totally unacceptable that there are young people in our region who are going without a meal or essential sanitary products and that is why we are taking steps to address this.”
Depute Leader, Rob Davidson, said “All budgets involve difficult decisions but I am confident that the proposals we have agreed in the budget today are the right ones for our region.
“Our budget reflects our commitment to the children and young people of our region, who represent our region’s future. It targets significant resources in this 'Year of Scotland’s Young People' to support and provide opportunities for young people to lead healthy lives and to realise their potential including a new apprenticeship board with our partners and investing in technology in our secondary schools.
“I am very pleased that our proposals for capital were approved today including further supporting our priority projects including Stranraer Waterfront, Dumfries Learning Town Phase 2 and the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. When we say that something is a priority, we mean it and we will resource it. We know that much work is still to be done on these projects but they are priorities for this Administration and we will work hard to deliver them.”
Full details of the council’s budget can be seen on the council website: www.dumgal.gov.uk/budget