Council tax freeze agreed as East Dunbartonshire sets budget
East Dunbartonshire Council set its budget at a special meeting of the full council held on Thursday, February 25.
Despite the ongoing pressures from the pandemic and with leaders saying local budget remains underfunded by Holyrood, councillors were able to implement a council tax freeze and impose minimal rent increases while also setting a capital programme which retains major projects such as a new Boclair Academy, new additional support needs school in Kirkintilloch and the Allander Centre community hub.
The meeting was prefaced by tributes to Stirling SNP councillor Graham Lambie, whose funeral had taken place at Dunblane Cathedral earlier that day. Councillor Lambie, who was 62, worked with East Dunbartonshire colleagues as a member of Mugdock Country Park’s management committee.
Councillor Polson introduced the budget by talking about the disparity between money going to the Scottish Government and what was being passed on to local authorities, and said that despite funding for a council tax freeze and to help offset the ongoing pressure of the pandemic, EDC had been left with a £7 million funding gap which needed to be addressed through efficiencies and use of reserves.
After taking all costs into account the rental income required by the council totalled £14.57 million, which was facilitated with a rent increase of half a percent.
Joint leader Vaughan Moody said: “Mindful of the challenging financial impact of Covid-19 on our communities, we have been able to keep our rent increases to a bare minimum of just 0.5% which equates to the average weekly rent over a 48 week period of just 42p.
“We are also establishing a Hardship Fund to support those whose tenancies are at risk due to financial hardship exacerbated by the pandemic.”
The housing capital budget for 2021/22 is £28.27 million, which includes:an investment of £4.75 million towards meeting quality and energy efficiency standards, £12.45 million to build new affordable housing, £5.37 million to fund purchasing new homes from developers, £3.2 million to buy properties on the open market and £2.4 million for a new housing management system.