North Lanarkshire Council sets its budget

North Lanarkshire Council has set its budget, incorporating £57m in cuts over the next three years, after the Labour and Conservative groups joined forces to pass shared proposals.

North Lanarkshire Council is confident its has set a 'Covid Recovery budget'

A freeze on council tax, supported by £4.6m from the Scottish Government, was agreed unanimously.

Council leader Jim Logue said: “It would be naïve of me to pretend that this budget is anything other than a Covid budget. But I am determined it is a Covid Recovery budget.”

Conservative group leader Meghan Gallacher proposed an amendment for £2.2m to be placed in unallocated reserves.

SNP group finance spokesman Jim Hume introduced his group’s budget which reversed previous cuts to Christmas lights, trading standards, grass cutting and grit bins, along with using a £3m surplus to prevent cuts to culture and leisure surplus.

A composite budget was agreed between Labour and the Conservatives, this reduced road improvements by £700,000 to allow £300,000 for Christmas lights over the next two years and £400,000 to provide equivalent anti-social behaviour services for owner/occupiers as those available to tenants.

Major details from the budget include:

An additional £3.95m for adult social care;

An increase in clothing and footwear grants from £110 to £140, and an extension to include families with children in Early Years settings;

An additional £500,000 for local development programme projects;

An extra £400,000 to enhance vocational education projects for young people;

£400,000 for the anti-social behaviour taskforce to ensure private homeowners access the same support as council tenants;

An additional £300,000 for grants to owner-occupiers to ensure those in mixed tenure buildings can contribute to structural upgrades.

Environmental improvements included:

£680,000 for road improvements and £150,000 for the ‘Drop the Kerb’ initiatives in country parks, cemeteries and key active travel routes;

£250,000 to upgrade to existing cemeteries;

An additional £150,000 for targeted pest control;

Christmas lights to be reinstated, and previous reductions to grit bins reversed.