The Perth and Kinross councillors are meeting today to decide the £281.3m budget for the years 2021/2022.
The Scottish Government has met the cost of Perth & Kinross Council’s COVID response and also provided almost £3million to allow for a council tax freeze for 2021/22.
Now the Conservative Administration of Perth and Kinross Councill will present its 2021/22 budget on Wednesday 10th March 2021 at a meeting of the full council.
Key features of the Conservative budget will be Education and Families, Economic Development, Communities and the Environment and Infrastructure.
Councillor Murray Lyle, Conservative Leader of Perth and Kinross Council said: “Our budget will focus strongly on recovery – recovery for our children’s education, recovery for our businesses, recovery for our communities and recovery for our environment and infrastructure.
“Our proposals include a number of new initiatives that will help our children and families achieve the best outcomes in life and provide much-needed support for our town and city centre businesses.
“We will also provide additional support to our communities to help them to be more resilient and welcoming and which will promote Perth and Kinross as a must visit destination.
“We will also make a significant investment in the infrastructure across Perth and Kinross.”
SNP councillors will announce their plans to use the additional funding by putting forward a range of local measures.
Preparing for the budget debate later this week, SNP Group leader, Grant Laing said: “The UK Government delays before finally announcing its budget just last week, has in turn held up the approval of the Scottish budget.
“Followed by the strange decision of the Tory administration, propped up by their Liberal Democrat allies, to insist on rushing through our local budget has severely and unnecessarily curtailed the time available to work up proposals.
“However, I am proud of the commitment shown by our SNP group in pulling our plans together in a short-time frame.
“We are acutely aware just how challenging the last year has been and I shall be delighted to present our proposed measures in detail at Wednesday’s budget meeting.
“Our SNP budget proposals demonstrate the kind of local leadership and ambition that prioritises the people of Perth and Kinross and puts families first.
“Every decision within our budget amendment seeks to keep as much money in their pockets as possible.
“We understand the hardship some are facing due to this pandemic and if there is any difference – however small – we can make then that is what our budget has sought to do.”
After the past tight year, the council will be expecting to have to keep the budget lean in some areas however.
Interim Chief Executive Barbara Renton said: “The past 12 months have been the most challenging this Council has faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like every other local authority, we have had to respond quickly to an ever-changing set of circumstances and officers are recommending a prudent and cautious approach to setting the Revenue Budget because of the unknown and enduring impact of the virus.
“Unfortunately, loss of income and rising costs means we are proposing to increase fees and charges in some areas, although we have kept these as low as is possible.
“Nevertheless, we remain in a positive position: there will be no rise in Council Tax this year, and this Budget will place us in the best position to provide the essential services our communities rely on over the next 12 months and plan for the future.”