Orkney’s Budget has been revealed.
Council Tax rise of 4.84% starting on April 1st 2020. The bands are as follows:
Discount of 25% where there is only one adult in the household.
3% increase for OIC services
1% increase in funding for the voluntary bodies.
£85.8million to be spent on OIC services.
Savings to be found of £755,000 – some of this to be through the loss of 5.5 FTE jobs
Leader of Orkney Islands Council. James Stockan described setting the budget as ‘challenging’ and again criticised the Scottish Government for the inter island ferry funding. He compared what the Western Isles receive from the Scottish Government suggesting that Orkney should get the same deal. The Western Isles does not have an oil fund to support its services. Orkney will use £6.3million from its reserves to add to the amount available to spend.
Funding from the Scottish Government is expected to be £77.5million with £5.5million for the running of the inter islands ferry service.
James Stockan said:
“Our annual funding from the Government, on a like for like basis and without ferry funding is, per head of population, £357 less than Shetland’s allocation and £673 below the allocation for the Western Isles. If Orkney was funded in the same way as the Western Isles, we would receive up to £14.9 million more each year to deliver council services.
“A great deal of thought and effort has been devoted to finding ways to lessen the impact on our community, our staff and the organisation itself. But we are having to recommend a range of cuts to services that are valued by people in Orkney. These are difficult decisions to make.”
The recommendation for the Budget by The Policy and Resources Committee will go to full council for agreement.
There are two Budgets which affect people in Orkney: the OIC Budget and the Scottish Budget. Both of these will affect the services we use and our quality of life.
The Scottish Budget
The Scottish Budget passed Stage 1 in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, 27th of February, after a deal was reached between the Scottish Greens and the SNP. There are 3 stages to be passed before Royal Assent is received.
In 2021 those 18 and under will join the 60+ in the concessionary bus scheme which enables free travel.
£25million added to funding already in place for local energy efficiency projects
£589million additional funding to local authorities which includes
£95million for local government requested by COSLA – the organisation representing Scotland’s local authorities
£15million added to funding already in place to local authorities for encouraging active travel – taking it to £100million
£20million additional funding to reduce the harm of drugs and alcohol misuse
£30million for Equality and Human Rights which includes
£13million to protect women and girls against gender based violence as part of The Delivering Equally Safe Fund for frontline services
£15billion funding for health and care services
£60million for Police Scotland
£5million to invest in railways
Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, in the Scottish Government, said:
“This budget invests a record £15 billion in health and care services, delivers Scotland’s unique child payment to lift our youngest out of poverty, transfers £3 billion of social security spending, supports our efforts to tackle the climate crisis and the creation of a Scottish National Investment Bank.
“The Scottish Government had already backed Police Scotland with a budget increase of £42 million. We will now increase that support to £60 million overall with £50 million of investment for frontline services.
“And we will deliver in full the support COSLA and others have asked for with £95 million for local government.
“We have made significant investments to tackle the climate crisis, with funding for a green deal, low carbon travel and £1.8 billion of low carbon infrastructure.
“When I presented the budget I said that every penny had been spent and that remains the case.
“In the absence of proposals to change spending, this additional investment will be funded through limited amounts of underspend, taking a multi-year approach to issues around non-domestic rates without impacting on local authority revenues, and additional consequentials from the fossil fuel levy.
“While this increases the financial exposure of the government it ensures that social security payments can be made and public services properly funded.”
56% of Income Tax payers in Scotland will pay less than if they lived in the rest of the UK.Scottish Income Tax Proposals 2020 2021
You can access the Scottish Budget here: Scottish Budget
You can watch the debate of Stage 1 of the Scottish Budget here:
Reporter: Fiona Grahame