Renfrewshire Council

Budget 2023 update from Chief Executive, Alan Russell

Last week (Thursday 2 March) councillors agreed to a budget of £483.2million for the financial year 2023/24.

I'd like to begin by thanking colleagues particularly in our finance teams for your work in helping set this year's budget, in arguably the most difficult circumstances we have ever faced.

Setting this year's budget has been challenging, against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis and the continuing long-term impact of the pandemic. This has created cost pressures at a level that we as an organisation have never experienced before. This is being driven by very high inflation and the cost of goods, as well as higher demands for support and services as families and communities across Renfrewshire experience much greater levels of hardship. At the same time, our funding settlement from the Scottish Government, which pays for over 80% of the costs of delivering our services, has remained effectively unchanged with no growth to support meeting the very substantial increase in costs. Taken together, these factors are creating a much more significant financial challenge, not just for Renfrewshire Council, but for all councils across Scotland.

While the Council will have to make difficult decisions to ensure we remain financially sustainable both now and in the future, we must also do everything we can to reduce our costs. We'll therefore continue to modernise and change how we work together across our organisation, with local communities and business, to protect and sustain essential public services that are of the greatest priority for our communities.

Our challenge is to reduce our annual spending by around £35million in the next three years. We already know that short-term solutions and transformation alone will not close the budget gap and we know further savings over the next three years will require more radical change and decision making. 

In setting the 2023/24 budget we've already identified £10million of savings, the largest savings package for many years, and I'm confident that by transforming services and by working smarter we can continue to build a fairer Renfrewshire and support our financial sustainability.

As part of the 2023/24 budget, Councillors have agreed to the following:

  • A Council Tax increase set at 6% which has been carefully considered to support our financial sustainability over the coming years.
  • The budget brings together £5million for our Fairer Renfrewshire programme.
  • £6.7million investment in roads and footpaths as well as funds to improve road safety in Renfrewshire villages.
  • There was also a commitment to protect the ongoing five-year, £424.2million capital investment programme which includes transforming Paisley town centre cultural venues and improving transport links across the area.
  • The budget also includes £450,000 in play areas and the expansion of the concessionary swim programme to pre-school children.

In very difficult circumstances this represents a positive outcome for Renfrewshire and is testament to the work progressed by officers across the whole of the council to support this years budget process.

A full update on the 2023/24 budget can be found here.



Published on Monday 6 March 2023.