Have your say on Council Tax and £3m savings proposals

INVERCLYDE residents are being encouraged to have their say on a range of council budget saving proposals worth almost £3 million that could result in the loss of 70 jobs.

The local authority has today, Friday 2 February 2024, launched the second phase of its budget consultation covering the 2024/26 period.

It includes a package of proposed savings totalling £2.9m, which could result in substantial job losses and reduced services, and options for increasing Council Tax over the next two years.

As it stands, the council faces a funding gap of £2m during 2024/26, depending on the level of Council Tax and the use of reserves.

An online survey has now been launched seeking the views of residents on four Council Tax scenarios that include options to accept the Scottish Government freeze or for the local authority to set its own rates.

The consultation also asks for feedback on 16 budget savings proposals that, if all are taken, would save £2.9m and result in the loss of up to 70 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs across a range of services.

Proposals include switching off public space CCTV, stopping the community warden service, closing Gourock’s recycling centre, and reductions across services such as employability, community grants, grounds maintenance, customer services, libraries, school music tuition, and nursery provision. 

Feedback from the consultation will help councillors to make decisions when setting the budget.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “A lower than expected grant from the Scottish Government in their draft budget that doesn’t account for inflation and potential pay increases and includes a proposed Council Tax freeze means that councils are now, once again, in the extremely difficult position of looking at deep and wide-ranging savings across all services.

“For Inverclyde, it means further significant savings over the next two years and potentially 70 FTE job losses, which could result in the loss of some services completely or major reductions.

“These are not the type of decisions that any of us want to make but we are legally obliged to set a balanced budget each year and unless more money is forthcoming from the government, this is the grim reality of what we as elected officials and council officers are faced with. We face a stark choice between increases in Council Tax and cuts to jobs and servces.

“Given the substantial impact these savings could have on our residents and service users, it is important that the public are given the opportunity to have their say on these proposals to help inform our decision-making when setting the budget.

“So please take some time to take part in this consultation and let us know what services matter most to you.”

Local authorities have a legal obligation to deliver a balanced budget before the end of March 2024 with a date to be set for the budget meeting.

The Inverclyde Council 2024/26 budget consultation phase two will run until Wednesday 14 February 2024.

The consultation survey is now available via the link in the Other Websites section of this page.

Proposals were agreed at a special full council meeting on Thursday 1 February 2024 and the meeting is available to watch on the Inverclyde Council YouTube channel via the link in the Other Websites section of this page and the report containing full details of the proposals is available on the council website via the link in the Related Links section of this page.