South Ayrshire Council agree 2021-22 budget including £40M for new Ayr leisure centre
South Ayrshire Councillors have today (Thursday 4 March) agreed on a budget that protects and invests in vital services that make a difference to local people.
Councillors agreed to a General Revenue Budget (day to day budget) of £284.9 million for 2021/22. This includes £79.4million for the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership. This is a significant increase in previous years to ensure residents have every opportunity to grow well, live well and age well.
Once again, the Council has committed to Capital Investment, with £436.6 million allocated to this area, £86.1 million of which will be invested in this year alone.
The Council's ambition to make sure local young people have the best possible start in life will see a £141.3 million investment in our school estate. The much anticipated new school campuses in Maybole and Prestwick will bring modern learning facilities to both areas. Work has also progressed on the site of the old Sacred Heart Primary School in Girvan, with the new school building due to be complete and ready for pupils and teachers to move in by August 2022. We're also investing £5.5m over the next 2 years in school refurbishment works.
Residents will also be able to look forward to a fantastic new leisure centre in Ayr which will significantly improve access to a range of health and leisure facilities and activities. A total of £40.2 million will be put into the state-of-the-art facility over the next 3 years. This project, together with the new cinema at the Kyle Centre site, will transform the town centre, creating job opportunities and supporting the local economy.
Many residents who took part in our recent Budget Consultation exercise told us that the change they would most like to see is their town centres made more attractive and transformed into an inviting place to be. The budget will see an allocation of £200,000 of additional funding to enhance our facilities in tourist locations to help encourage visitors back to our towns and rural areas.
The budget also reflects the Council's commitment to maximising the local economy, making South Ayrshire work. The signing of the Ayrshire Growth Deal in November 2020 brought with it hope for a brighter, more prosperous future for our communities. The Council's continued investment, a total of £91.6 million until 2030, will help to put Ayrshire on the map as a great place to live, work, and invest in.
In the current global climate emergency, we are determined to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment, making South Ayrshire a better place to live for future generations. Our first ever carbon budget will help us to achieve this. We are also increasing the use of electric vehicles in our fleet which will not only make for a cleaner environment, but will save £195,000 over the next 3 years.
Our roads are the gateway to supporting local, national and international trade. We have committed £25.1 million to maintain and improve our road network, and a further £3.2 million will be invested in street lighting.
The budget also sees the rate of Council Tax frozen*, which means that residents will pay the same rate for 2021/22 as they did in the last financial year.
Councillor Peter Henderson, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said:
"I would like to extend my thanks to the members of the public who took time to participate in our 2021-22 Budget Consultation exercise. The views of those in our communities is a crucial part of forming our budget, and your feedback has been used to help inform our future spending plans.
"I am extremely proud that we have been able to deliver a balanced budget, particularly as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The impact COVID-19 has had on our communities has been immense and this budget targets resources where they are needed most.
"Many of us stood on our doorsteps and showed our appreciation for our carers last year. I'm delighted that we're taking this one step further by significantly increasing our investment in the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.
"I know that the one year Council Tax freeze will be well received in our communities as we try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic."
Councillor Brian McGinley, Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council said:
"This budget puts our communities at the heart of what we do.
"Setting the budget is always challenging as we try to achieve the right balance. This year we are mindful of the financial hardship this pandemic has left in its wake, and this budget reinforces our commitment to closing the gap and helping the most vulnerable in our communities.
"This budget ensures that we can continue to deliver and invest in essential services."
Independent Councillors Alec Clark and Brian Connolly said: "This budget reinforces our Council Plan commitments as we continue to transform South Ayrshire for residents and visitors.
"The ongoing investment in our school estate will make a real difference to young people and local communities. We are delighted that this commitment will see three fantastic new schools in Girvan and Maybole over the next few years. Sacred Heart Primary School is due for completion by August 2022, and work on the new Girvan Primary School campus is set to begin in 2023. Work is also due to commence on the highly anticipated Maybole Community Campus later this year.
"We are proud to be the one of the few Councils in Scotland to introduce a Carbon Budget, cementing our commitment to take real action to ensure a green recovery in South Ayrshire."
You can see the budget at https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/budget
*While Council Tax charges levied by the Council are frozen, Scottish Water may increase water and sewerage charges - these are not controlled by the Council.