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Clacks plans highest tax hike allowed; Budget savings of PS4m in pipeline.

Byline: ALASTAIR MCNEILL

Officials at Clackmannanshire Council are proposing a council tax rise of almost five per cent.

The authority is also looking at using reserves to balance its 2019-20 budget which is estimated to be PS123.6 million.

A paper set to go before the full council this Wednesday (March 6) for the 2019-20 budget proposes a council tax rise of 4.79 per cent, the highest allowed.

It also recommends savings of PS4.810m including PS1.136m of cuts approved in previous years but delivered in 2019/20.

These include a 10 per cent reduction in learning assistants (PS18,770), revised primary school class configurations (PS141,810), and the community asset transfer for Cochrane Hall, Alva, Dollar Civic Centre and Tullibody Civic Centre (PS86,187).

Future funding gaps in the general services budget are put at PS10.082m for 2020/21; PS6.688m for 2021-22 and PS6.517m for 2022-23.

The report prepared by chief finance officer Lindsay Sim states: 'Subject to the approval of this budget, the indicative funding gap for 2020/21 and beyond is set out [above].

"Council will note that the gap has increased by PS2.556m for 2020/21 due to one-off cash savings and utilisation of the capital receipts reserve to balance the 2019/20 budget."

It was also pointed out that taking account of planned savings of PS4.810m there is still a budget gap of PS3.836m.

Ms Sim added it is "therefore recommended that the council approves utilisation of PS1.871m of capital receipts reserve leaving a balance of PS1.844m of capital receipts...' In setting the 2019/20 budget at PS123.678m the council is assuming a broadening in the amount of properties subject to council tax.

Ms Sim pointed out: 'For 2019/20 this is estimated to be approximately 100 properties. The assumed collection rate is 97.5 per cent which is in line with the previous year. It is proposed to increase council tax by 4.79 per cent which provides additional income of PS1.02m and which is included in the total of PS23.158m council tax income.

'A three per cent council tax increase would equate to PS0.642m and a further 1.79 per cent generates income of PS0.382m which has been used to support vital services within the council.

'This results in a Band D council tax of PS1,276.25 for 2019/20 [previously PS1,217.91 2018/19].

'As part of the budget process, the Scottish Government announced changes to taxation which included introduction of a transient visitor levy and a workplace parking levy. It is not proposed to implement any of these levies at this time.

'Total government grant funding is subject to approval of the Local Government Finance Order which will be laid before the Scottish Parliament on March 7.' Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek Mackay last month raised the cap on council tax rises from three per cent to 4.79 per cent.

Council tax increase provides additional income of PS1.02m

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Budget proposals Clackmannanshire Council to discuss spending plans next week

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:518
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