Households across West Dunbartonshire will benefit from significant additional support introduced as part of a ‘no cuts’ budget agreed today.
The 2022/23 Council budget includes additional investment to double the current school clothing grant from £150 to £300; creation of a £400,000 grant designed to support residents struggling with the cost-of-living; additional support for local foodbanks and an enhanced welfare and Working4U service to ensure residents can access financial and employability advice.
The budget also commits to a £1million investment in apprentices over the next 4 years; an additional £2million investment to improve roads and pavements in the area; funding for additional Christmas lights and the introduction of a pothole rapid repair service.
In addition, £500,000 will be invested for flood prevention, £500,000 will be used to enhance play areas and an additional £50,000 will fund two additional accessible Changing Places toilets.
The ambitious capital plan will see more than £54million invested in total to benefit the whole area, replacing existing assets and funding new projects such as community alarm upgrades, new electric vehicle charging points, a cemetery extension and water safety equipment.
Though Council Tax will increase by 3%, residents in band D properties will pay £111.20 less per year or £11.12 less per month for those paying over 10 months, when counted alongside the Council Tax Credit from the Scottish Government.
The financial plan protects frontline Council services as much as possible, as well as protecting jobs.
As part of the budget, £61,000 will also be invested to freeze social care charges at the 21/22 rate.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “For the fourth year in a row, we have achieved a no cuts budget in West Dunbartonshire, investing in key areas and supporting our residents without a reduction to our frontline services.
“At a time when our residents are dealing with the impacts of Brexit, the pandemic and the effects of war in eastern Europe, it is more important than ever to protect their income and guard against rapidly rising cost-of-living pressures.
“That is why we know families will welcome the saving they will make thanks to the doubling of school clothing grants and our most vulnerable residents will benefit through the new cost-of-living grant fund. “In addition, we have protected funding to strategic partners who help us support residents, including Citizens Advice and Women’s Aid.
“Our aim is a fairer future for all, and as well as supporting that aim, this budget will help West Dunbartonshire recover economically and as a society.”
Council Leader Jonathan McColl added: “Significant progress has been made over the last year to enhance our communities and support our residents.
“Key achievements this year include rolling out 1140-hours of free childcare; improving public safety with additional life-saving equipment installed and CCTV in place; the restoration and refurbishment of Lomond Bridge as part of significant regeneration works in Balloch and securing £19.9 million to regenerate Dumbarton Town Centre.
“In the year ahead, we intend to make even more enhancements to our area. We’ll move forward with the continued expansion of Early Learning and Childcare Centres for the benefit of our young people; progress proposals for a new community campus in Faifley; develop a Water Safety Strategy for the area; improve active travel routes rolling out additional Electric Vehicle charging points to encourage the use of environmentally friendly transport; and we’ll improve libraries and key road routes.”