Glasgow invests in schools, care and roads

Glasgow City Council today (Thursday, 7 February 2013) passed a budget for the next two years which invests in schools, social care and the city's roads.

Worktime

Despite facing a huge reduction in funding from the Scottish Government, measures approved today include a massive £80 million capital investment in the city's primary school estate.

Members also agreed an £11 million boost for care, including increased support for Kinship Carers and two new care homes for children.

And the budget will spark Glasgow's biggest ever blitz on potholes, with total funding for road, pavement and infrastructure improvements set at more than £36 million.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Our budgets are under huge pressure; but we can't afford to let that limit our ambition and our commitment to communities.

"We are focusing on our priorities, which we share with our fellow Glaswegians - investing in education and in care, in jobs and in roads and transport."

Although there has been a small overall increase in the funding available to Scottish councils, Glasgow has had to make substantial savings because its share of the Scottish pot has been cut.

A need to make savings of more than £70 million over the next two years initially demanded that each service find efficiencies of around 5%.

However, the proposals passed today protect Education and Social Work in relative terms.

Education will see an unprecedented £250 million spent to rebuild or refurbish every primary in the city in the five years from 2013 to 2018.

The ambitious project will see the council commit capital of £40 million in each of the next two years; building on more than £550 million already been invested in the estate in recent years.

Meanwhile, it is planned to roll out a package of investment in child care - supporting more young people in a family setting, or in local residential care, rather than through expensive out-of-town placements.

This includes more than £750,000 to support Kinship Care and almost £1 million to recruit additional staff to support young people and their families.

More than £5 million is being committed to the building and running of new residential care homes for children over the next two years.

And it is planned to free up more than £4 million to increase the number of Foster Carers and Adoptive Parents in the city.

Members also agreed continued funding for the £25million Glasgow Guarantee - a pledge to provide all 16 to 24 year olds seeking work with support in terms of an apprenticeship, training or employment.

Cllr Matheson said: "Glasgow's children will be educated in 21st century buildings that provide an environment in which every child can achieve their potential.

"Our investment will not only benefit children in every community across the city, but also provide a significant boost to the local economy.

"Education and jobs are both priorities for the council and we are committed to delivering on them.

"Savings have to be made, but they do not have to come at the expense of the opportunities we create for Glasgow's young people."

Today's budget will also deliver more than £36 million for roads and pavements - more than four times the amount allocated to the city.

Capital spending will be met from increased revenue across traffic operations, including bus lane enforcement, and build on investment of around £46 million already made over the last three years.

Cllr Matheson said: "Glaswegians have every right to expect good roads. Our job is to try and match their expectations - and that requires serious investment.

"Three years ago, we rapidly increased our spending and we are starting to see the clear benefit of that work now.

"Today, we have gone further to ensure we build on those improvements - reaching busy city centre streets and residential roads and wiping out thousands of potholes."

Today's budget approved multi-million pound funding for the regeneration of Sighthill and a study into improving transport links between the city and Glasgow Airport.

Council Tax bills will again be frozen at 2006 levels, with a Band D rate of £1213.Total savings, including £16.3 million already approved, are £70.3 million over two years.

The city has already made savings of £130 million in the last three years.

Glasgow's share of the national settlement in 2008/09 was 13.91%. In 2013/14 it will be 13.16%.