Renfrewshire Council

Setting the Council budget - a colleague update from Chief Executive, Alan Russell

Managing the Council's finances over the next three years

Much like household costs, the cost of services we provide are increasing significantly due to inflation, increased cost of materials, energy and fuel costs and support for households. 

And this is at a time when more people than ever need our support and when funding from the Scottish Government for local government, which is 80 per cent of the council's total income, is not expected to increase over the next three years.

At this month's full council meeting, an update will be provided outlining the challenge and how we propose to make the required changes and I wanted to outline the key points of this for you in advance.

Given the significant increase to our costs, we need to reduce our annual spending by £35 million over the next three years. 

We currently spend around £480 million a year, almost two thirds of this is fixed, like teacher numbers and the cost of social services, so we cannot reduce what we spend in those areas. 

So, we need to save £35 million from a much smaller budget of around £175 million.

This is in addition to £160 million we have saved over the past 10 years which was achieved by transforming and changing how we deliver certain services, however the scale of the financial challenge we now face, in the context of having already delivered significant savings over the past 10 years, means we cannot easily make further savings from these services so we need to do things differently.

We have created the following short video which sets the scene and explains in more detail what makes up the council budget, how it is spent, as well as the reasons and impact for the reduction in our funding to ensure colleagues, partners and communities can also understand the full extent of our challenge. 

You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka1HFmMiPrM

There will be difficult choices and things will have to change. We will have to review how we deliver public services and stop doing some things, however by reducing our costs and making savings, we will help protect priority services and support our most vulnerable residents. 

I'll be back in touch with you shortly with details of next steps.

Thank you.

Alan