Stirling Council has approved a revised budget that will safeguard vital services during the coronavirus pandemic and secure almost £2million of additional capital investment in digital technology.
Budget 2020

At a special meeting of Council last Thursday (8 Oct), there was unanimous cross-party support for the proposals, which will ensure the local authority can continue to support communities during the current crisis and to enhance services in the long term.

Elected members heard of the financial challenges facing the Council since the national lockdown began in March.

With extra demands on services, who had to adapt their provision to support residents, and a reduction from income streams, there has been a financial impact in the region of £7.6m in the current financial year.

This shortfall will be funded by drawing on reserves and any additional Government funding, maintaining crucial frontline services to residents, such as early learning and childcare, education, waste collections, land services, social care, business support and advice services.

Work together

Convener of Stirling Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “It’s important we all work together for the people of Stirling in the face of the huge financial challenges of the pandemic so it’s heartening there was unanimous support from elected members for this budget.  

“Prudent financial planning for these types of emergency scenarios means we don’t have to cut frontline services at a time when they are needed most, ensuring our communities and most vulnerable residents are supported over the coming winter months.

“We are so proud of our dedicated staff, who have responded magnificently to support people in a variety of ways since lockdown, and I know they will continue to do so.

“With the tightening of national and local restrictions in the last few weeks, there is no doubt the Covid crisis remains fluid and fast-moving and this budget package gives the Council flexibility to review and reassess the situation if required.”

Within the £34m annual capital budget there will be significant investment in digital technology, equipment and other building alterations to ensure the delivery of essential services to communities during the pandemic, including high-quality learning and care for children and young people. .

Important community projects delayed by lockdown will be completed next year with any additional funding prioritised from next year’s capital budget.

These include: 

  • The conversion of the former RBS building in Bannockburn into a business and community hub
  • Improvements to a new football pitch in Dunblane
  • Public Realm enhancements to the Cornton Shop and Community Centre area
  • Multi-agency hubs to allow children’s social work teams to be based within localities.

 Continue providing vital services

Vice Convener, Cllr Alison Laurie said: “This package of capital investments allows the Council to continue providing vital services to our communities through this public health emergency and ensures the whole Stirling area can realise its ambitions and create growth once we emerge from this crisis.

“The extra investment in digital solutions is critical for service delivery to people and communities during the pandemic, particularly in the education of our children and young people, but it will also increase the local authority’s flexibility and efficiency in this key area for many years to come.

“I’m also pleased funding has been secured for the completion of a diverse range of crucial community projects as part of our commitment to improving the infrastructure in our urban and rural areas.”

Remain vigilant

Cllr Brisley added: “We know this continues to be a tough time for our communities, particularly with the latest restrictions now in force, and we must remain vigilant to the financial impact of Covid-19.

“I hope, however, this approved budget provides some reassurance to the people living in the Stirling area – the Council will be there to support you during the pandemic and as we move forward out of this crisis.”

Recordings and reports

A recording of the committee meeting is available to view on the Council’s YouTube channel.

The budget reports are available to view on the Stirling Council website.