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Perth and Kinross budget: Council tax to rise 2.5% but school crossing patrollers saved

Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle was among those to agree the budget.
Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle was among those to agree the budget.

Council tax will rise by 2.5% in Perth and Kinross but school crossing patrollers and primary school swimming lessons will not be scrapped.

Members of Perth and Kinross Council met for a mammoth meeting on Wednesday to debate swathes of potential cuts.

Proposed cuts included school crossing patrollers, apprenticeships, swimming lessons, public toilets, grounds and greenspace maintenance, winter maintenance and the school supply contingency budget for teachers were all scrapped.

School crossing patrollers were saved from the axe.

Last-minute agreements meant many of the initial proposals did not go ahead.

But what does the agreed budget mean for the people of Perth and Kinross?

Council tax

Council tax will rise by 2.5%. A rise of 4.25% was previously agreed but this was cut.

The new rise means those in band D properties will be paying £33 more.

What is being cut?

Cuts that have been made include:

  • Six fewer primary school teacher places – saving of £344,000. This is due to shrinking school rolls.
  • £200,000 from the the Getting into Care programme
  • £30,000 for public health funerals (where no relative or person is alive to organise the funeral)
  • £130,000 to waste services
  • £124,000 to IT systems licences
  • £2.191 million in corporate workforce management (vacant posts may not be filled automatically)
  • £50,000 to the criminal justice service
  • £135,000 in property costs
  • £50,000 in travel costs

Where is money being spent?

  • An extra £4m was agreed, on top of the existing £10million roads and bridges budget.
  • £100,000 for extra gully cleaning and road safety measures.
  • £100,000 on getting children who have been disadvantaged by home learning back on track with their studies.
  • £136,000 into national qualifications and foundation apprenticeships, through additional staffing at each secondary school.
  • £90,000 on a family support for all care experienced people and their families.

There was support for local projects with £50,000 going towards the YMCA’s project of revamping the old St Andrew’s and St Stephen’s building on Atholl Street in Perth. The project includes a youth centre, four flats, café and shop.

Money towards grants played a big part of the budget:

  • £125,000 is going towards a skills passport with grants of up to £2,000 to help people attend training, courses or purchase equipment.
  • £100,000 in the business gateway accelerator programme to support high-growth start-up businesses.
  • £300,000 to help convert under-used or vacant commercial space on High Streets for new use
  • £200,000 for the open for business fund to encourage rural town centre businesses to update their shop fronts and give grants to support empty property initiatives.
  • An extra £40,000 towards visitor facilities to help rural communities cope with increased footfall during the summer.
  • £100,000 to support small and micro rural businesses.
  • An extra £100,000 into supporting community groups, meaning £400,000 of investment next year.
  • £100,000 in food security including programmes in schools and community initiatives. Extra funding allows projects to extend from redistributing surplus food to teaching people how to cook.
  • An extra £50,000 to digital inclusion on top of the £150,000 already provided this year.
  • £80,000 for training, equipment or other things to help communities and their ideas.
  • £500,000 recurring investment in electric vehicles, mobility, the council’s non-domestic estate, tree planting and smart energy projects.
  • £30,000 donation to each of Women’s Aid and RASAC

‘Challenging times’

Council leader Murray Lyle said: “In financially challenging times this budget re-affirms our commitment to our key priorities of education and families, economic wellbeing, communities, climate change, the environment and infrastructure, and changes to how the council operates to deliver effective public services.

“Over the past two years we have worked hard with communities during the most trying of times. This budget underlines how we will continue to keep citizens at the heart of our approach.”

New swimming pool for Perth

In the capital budget, £90m was agreed for the PH20 project, bringing a new swimming pool and leisure centre to Perth.

It is scheduled to open in financial year 2027/28.

Support was also agreed for the Perth West eco-innovation park, which includes renewable energy generation park and new residential neighbourhoods, creating 1,000 jobs.

Also agreed was an increase of £23.5million to the budgets for Perth High School, Blairgowrie Recreation Centre, and a primary school at Bertha Park.

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