East Ayrshire Council is to launch a series of community briefings and an online public consultation exercise this week, as work to develop its Revenue Budget and funding strategy for 2017/18 continues.
Set against a turbulent economic backdrop and an uncertain fiscal climate, with possible changes to the way in which Scottish public services could be funded in the future, this year’s Revenue Budget is likely to be especially challenging.
For 2017/18, the Council is anticipating a potential funding shortfall of £9 million and that figure may change depending on the Local Government settlement from the Scottish Government, due to be announced on 15 December 2016.
In turn, this offer will depend on the details of the UK Government’s Autumn Statement, to be delivered by the new Chancellor on 23 November 2016.
Once known, the figures will be used to finalise the Council’s formal budget setting in February next year, but this will be for one year only and there remains uncertainty around longer-term funding for Local Authorities in Scotland.
Anticipating the changes and the likely funding gap, the Council has been working to minimise its effects and maintain services, identifying areas where savings can be made and revenue generated – including a likely 3% increase in Council Tax.
To present the proposals as widely as possible and gather public feedback, a series of budget briefings will be held across East Ayrshire, involving communities, local organisations and special interest groups, through a series of scheduled events.
As well as the community briefings, the proposals will be placed on the Council’s website from Monday 24 October 2016, for residents and businesses can make their views known.
The briefings and consultation will run until Wednesday 16 November 2016.
A report on the budget briefings and the online feedback will be submitted for Cabinet consideration on 30 November 2016.