This is how Falkirk Council will spend its 2019/20 budget

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Falkirk Council agreed on its revenue budget for 2019/20 this week.

Following hours of deliberation and debate on Wednesday, the local authority’s SNP-led administration had its proposals pushed through.

It means around £340 million will be spent across all communities in the area over the next year.

We’ve rounded up the headline figures from the meeting below:

· A 3 per cent increase in council tax was agreed that will see an average Band D figure increase £34 a year

· The Integrated Joint Board, a partnership with NHS Forth Valley, has been allocated a budget of £63.3m to deliver adult social care and health services

· Falkirk Community Trust received £10.8m to provide sport, recreation, arts, heritage and library services

Forward projections show the council faces a £76m budget deficit over the next five years.

However, a new business plan designed to tackle this gap will be launched later this year.

Specific areas where money will be spent include:

· Children’s Services (including schools, nurseries, criminal justice and community learning) will receive £193.6m

· Development Services (including roads, street lighting, economic development and planning, waste and environmental protection) will be given £27.6m

· Corporate and Housing (including support and democratic services, finance and HR services and council housing) will receive £26.3m

Funds have also been identified for smaller specific areas. These include:

· £200,000 for 14 support for learning assistants

· £40,000 allocated for food banks and holiday activities for children

· Continuing to spend more than £2.6m on external organisations in the community

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “Our spending priorities for this year remain focused on those who need our support most.

“We have listened to residents through a comprehensive survey we conducted prior to finalising our proposals and have ensured that what they feel strongly about is reflected in the services we deliver.

“This year’s budget reflects our priorities of people, place and partnership and we are looking at new ways of involving communities in decision making such as small grants, locality-based budgets and working with communities to redesign services.

“There is also large-scale investment to allow us to continue to protect our assets and expand economic growth across the area and we will be spending £220m over the next years on major projects across all our communities.

“Our transformation project, Council of the Future, is making huge savings through efficiencies with around £9m projected for next year alone. We have also reduced the number of buildings we own helping us to lower costs.

“We’re also increasing the number of online services we can offer such as My Falkirk, again making a big difference to our finances.”

As part of its budget, investment programmes across the Falkirk Council area were also agreed to run over the next five years helping to fund major projects and work to improve the region.

In total, £220m will be committed to various projects, including:

· An extension to Maddiston Primary School (£4m)

· An extension to Denny Primary School (£2.2m)

· Further work on the new Denny Eastern Access Road (£4.6m)

· Roads maintenance (£19.1m)

· Road safety schemes (£4.3m)

· Business property reinvestment (£2m)

· Play park upgrades (£0.4m)

· Improvements to the Avon Gorge Road (£7.9m)