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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Moray Council Sets Budget for 2024/25

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For the first time in 10 years, Moray Council has set a cross-party budget.

Support across the chamber has secured the local authority’s £278.8m budget for the financial year ahead.

Additional spending on community wardens and youth workers; £40,000 to top-up welfare grants; reducing glyphosate use; and a commitment to Just Transition activity means the financial plans passed with full support of all elected members.

The budget is, however, set alongside a warning that most of the £19.2m shortfall will be met from savings and reserves with further savings of £13m needed in 2025/26.

Full council agreed to go ahead with the savings previously consulted on and had already made decisions on £2.7m worth of savings.

Capital spending plans of £50m for 2024/25 and update to charges for some services were also agreed earlier this year to generate income.

Now, the council has identified a further £1.5m of savings through a series of operational service reductions, removal of vacant posts or reducing existing posts.

This includes reducing the Money Advice Service.

Full details of the most recent proposals are available on moray.gov.uk/budget2024.

The Scottish Government Grant for Moray Council totals just over £213m and accounts for around 80% of the council’s budget.

The future of the leisure and libraries estate was subject to a separate public consultation and will be discussed at a future meeting of the Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee.

Moray Council also agreed to freeze the council tax following the Scottish Government provision of almost £2.5m for this purpose.

Speaking after the budget was agreed, Moray Council Leader, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said:

“It pleases me no end that, through collegiate working, we’ve managed to pass a balanced budget with full, cross-party support.

“All voices have been heard in this budget and I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues to transform our approach to savings through innovation to balance future budgets and provide better services to residents.

“We’re determined that we, collectively, create a sustainable council to put us on a path of transformation, innovation and stability.

“We’re not saying that’s easy and there will still need to be serious conversations around the £4m in budget pressures we face over the next year.

“But with management restructures, refocusing on priorities, and the measures already agreed earlier this year indicatively bringing in an estimated additional £2.2m, we’re on our way to stable footing.

“We also can’t forget the additional funding Moray has secured to support economic growth and infrastructure over the next decade to the tune of £138m.

“There are exciting prospects for Moray in 2024 and we, as a council body, are wholly behind the vision.”

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