Renfrewshire Council

Budget 2024/25 update from Chief Executive, Alan Russell

This week (Thursday 29 February), councillors agreed to a budget of £549.287million for the financial year 2024/25.

I want to first thank all of our colleagues who have been involved in setting this year's budget. At a time where local authorities are under significant pressures, your work to support this process and our elected members is invaluable. 

We are facing significant financial challenges as well as growing demand for our services, as are all councils across Scotland, which makes setting a budget that protects our vital services and invests in council priorities difficult. I would like to thank all those involved across our organisation as we continue our work to review and redesign our services whilst maintaining the high standards of service delivery expected.  

The increasing cost of materials, rising inflation, and higher energy and fuel costs are putting unprecedented demands on the council, against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis and the continuing long-term impact of the pandemic that is affecting families and communities across Renfrewshire. 

At the same time, our funding settlement from the Scottish Government, which pays for more than 80% of the costs of delivering our services, has remained almost the same with little growth to support meeting the very substantial increase in costs. 

I'm grateful to all our teams for the positive manner in which you have approached how we change the way we deliver services, continuously learning to work smarter, reducing our costs wherever possible, all while continuing to deliver high-quality public services. 

We continue to work to reduce the budget gap that we are experiencing and, this year, we have supported a balanced budget by incorporating £8.864million of savings and using up to £6.4million of reserves. 

Our challenge is to continue to reduce our annual spending through short, medium and long-term measures and I'm confident that we have the skills and ability within the organisation to do this successfully. 

While we are facing these challenges, it's important to recognise the positive investments we have made this year. 

As part of the 2024/25 budget, councillors have agreed to the following: 

  • Council tax frozen at the current 2023/24 rates 

  • A further £4million secured to confirm the construction of a new Thorn Primary in Johnstone - adding to the £10million already allocated 

  • A £5million investment in our roads network 

  • A further £700,000 in support of our £5million Fairer Renfrewshire programme for those who need it most 

  • £800,000 for artificial playing surfaces in sports facilities 

  • An additional £200,000 to create a £1million package of support for local artists and cultural organisations over the next three years 

  • Furthering our commitment to the The Promise through the Who Cares? Scotland Communities that Care programme 

  • Enhancing our environmental campaigns through Team Up to Clean Up and the Environmental Taskforce 

  • Ensuring every child between the ages of 2 and 5 will continue to receive a book every month thanks to further investment in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. 

Also approved by elected members at the budget meeting was a five-year investment totalling £281million in Renfrewshire housing. More than 1,200 homes will see the benefit, this year, of £41million of improvements for new kitchens and bathrooms, more energy efficient heating systems, replacement windows and roof repairs, as well as the building of new council houses and investment in high-rise buildings. 

These projects complement our £450.347million capital investment that we have protected through the budget as we bring forward projects that will change Renfrewshire for generations to come. 

This includes the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination, the refurbishment of Paisley Arts Centre, a new state-of-the-art Paisley Grammar School, progressing the globally significant Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland, and constructing the first opening road bridge over the Clyde through the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project. 

A full update on the 2024/25 budget can be found here. 

Thank you