West Lothian Council Budget approved

West Lothian Council today (February 15) agreed its Revenue Budget for next year (2022/23) which will see a raft of spending measures totalling over £500 million invested in local services and support packages for local people.

Stock shot of money by John Devlin.
Stock shot of money by John Devlin.

A council tax rise of three per cent has been approved for 2022/23.

A continuation of the rent increase of three per cent per annum for council homes and garages has also been approved by West Lothian Council as part of its Housing Revenue Account Budget.

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The Housing Capital Investment Programme (2022-23) will see nearly £25 million invested to increase the social housing supply in West Lothian. Education will continue to see the largest single investment with £206.7m. Over £126m will be invested in Social Policy and nearly £64.8m will be spent in Operational Services.

Leader of West Lothian Council, Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "This council will continually strive to enhance services for every single West Lothian resident.

“However, it is our priority to support people who are in greatest need and help to preserve and create jobs, and lift the economy within West Lothian, which is why we have targeted support across a wide range of measures that will help people through difficult times.

“The council provides a huge range of quality services and our investment benefits every single resident in West Lothian. The council is here to support people who need extra help as well as providing statutory services. We believe that we have agreed the best possible budget within the resources available.”

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Key aspects of the budget include:

- investment to meet an increase in the cost of complex care for a rapidly growing elderly population

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- an increase in health and social care funding, including mental health support for young people

- additional funding for food support packages delivered in partnership between third sector groups and the council via the West Lothian Food Network

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- additional welfare and financial support

- funding to freeze school meal prices

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- support for looked after children and vulnerable adults

- significant investment in economic packages to support growth and job creation

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- additional funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund support

- investment to tackle fuel poverty

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In addition to the current programme of road repair work, the council has allocated an additional £1m in essential road repairs this year.

An additional £1.5m to support prevention work in homelessness will be provided.

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There will be significant financial support worth over £3m to support those most in need in areas such as school clothing grants, homelessness and financial support for families.

The council has also agreed a number of one-off spending packages worth over £2.2m for Economic Development and Regeneration to support the local economy and create jobs, including support for initiatives to reduce the council’s carbon footprint.

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There is also £550,000 for the West Lothian Jobs Fund and Employability programme with targeted support including pop-up employability clinics.

The council has also agreed to continue to freeze school meals and reduce school meal prices by 10 per cent.

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Further investment will also go into the Winter Resilience Fund

For those that need support with Council Tax, the council has set aside £425,000 for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to support those in need.

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The Scottish Budget Bill approved last week confirmed funding of £280m to provide £150 to every household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in any Band and to provide £150 to all other occupied households in Bands A to D.

A Band D property will therefore pay £2.15 per week less for Council Tax in 2022/23.