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Fife confirms 3% council tax rise — here’s where the money will be spent

Fife Council has set its budget.
Fife Council has set its budget.

Council tax in Fife is to rise by 3% this year.

Councillors have approved spending plans which will see more cash for road repairs, street cleaning and other one-off initiatives.

Fife’s SNP/Labour joint administration says there will be no cuts proposed for 2022/23, with a £3.7 million surplus to be reinvested in areas identified as key priorities.

The 3% rise in council tax means the band D level will rise to £1319.22, although the actual number on the bill will be higher due to water and sewerage charges.

Areas for extra funding

An extra £1.3 million will be allocated to roads maintenance, while an additional £750,000 will be spent on recruiting the equivalent of 20 full-time staff for the region’s parks, streets and open space service and providing new equipment.

The region’s seven area budgets will be boosted by £700,000, meaning £100,000 each towards local projects, and the popular Cafe Inc initiative – which provides food and activities over the school holidays for children and families – will receive an extra £150,000.

A further £300,000 has been earmarked to boost the summer programme of activities for children, young people, families and older people.

And an extra £216,000 has been set aside for additional staffing for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, and £250,000 will go towards community growing initiatives including the expansion of allotments.

What the administration co-leaders said

Council co-leaders David Ross and David Alexander formally proposed the budget plans, which were voted through despite a Liberal Democrat amendment.

“This budget aims to support the recovery and maintain the high standard of local services in Fife,” they said in a joint statement.

Cllr David Alexander, left, with fellow co-leader David Ross.

“It recognises the financial pressures faced by the council and uses the small amount available for investment this year in a prudent manner designed to support some of those most affected by the pandemic.

“It sustains services for the coming year and provides a foundation for the new council to set out its medium and longer term priorities following the local government elections in May.”

Lib Dem amendment defeated

The Liberal Democrat amendment proposed rejecting the administration’s spending on community growing initiatives and the summer programme expansion, suggesting these were “light on detail”.

Instead, they wanted to see £175,000 extra spent on road maintenance – on top of the £1.3m proposed by the administration – and £375,000 for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust programmes which would be accessible to all Fifers.

However, the SNP/Labour proposals were approved with 48 votes for the motion, eight for the Lib Dem amendment, and 12 abstentions.

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