THE budget for 2024/25 has been set by Clackmannanshire Council, outlining spending on services for the year ahead.

Councillors unanimously agreed on the budget for the upcoming year, placing the needs of residents, communities and businesses at the heart of decision making.

During a special meeting of the council on Thursday, February 29, the budget, worth £161.5 million to be spent on services, was approved by every councillor.

Alongside the budget, a 20 year capital investment programme of £255 million was also agreed. This will go towards supporting net zero aspirations and playing an important part in supporting our local economy.

This includes spending on the new Wellbeing Hub and Lochies School, learning estate developments and digital enhancements and investment to develop inclusive playparks.

These plans have been put together from consultation and partnership with local communities in the Clackmannanshire areas.

The City Region Deal will be a key area of investment, with £8.03 million set aside to help deliver new jobs, skills development and training opportunities including Scotland’s International Environment Centre, Alloa Innovation Hub, Alloa Digital Hub and culture, heritage and tourism projects.

A further £26.6 million will be transferred to the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership to support the care of the 1240 older adults and people with a disability receiving adult health and social care every week in Clacks.

Council leader Ellen Forson said: “Like all councils, our costs have risen significantly, with inflation making the cost of providing our services higher, along with a continuing rise in demand for services such as social care.

“In setting this year’s budget, where we can, we have tried to protect agreed priorities such as education, social work and health and social care, as well as tackling poverty, with over £100 million being invested in these services.

“The council is also continuing to transform and modernise the way it operates by being innovative and working with our communities and partners across the public and third sectors.”

Council tax rates have been frozen, which will maintain a yearly cost of £1,410.96 for a Band D property in 2024/25.

Cllr Forson continued: “The Scottish Government has provided the council with funding of £1.3 million to freeze the council tax.

“This is the amount we would raise by implementing a 5 per cent increase. The freeze will benefit every household in Clackmannanshire, providing much needed financial relief and give some certainty for next year.”

As reported by the Advertiser over recent weeks, the budget will also see Clackmannanshire Council carry out some cuts to make the budget viable.

These will see community halls have their funding slashed, a review of primary class sizes and an increase of 25p in school meals.

Cllr Ellen added: “We have not taken these decisions lightly, and in finalising our budget proposals this year, we have endeavoured to take into consideration the feedback provided through the budget consultation process and to try and find compromises which deliver a balance between affordability and sustainability – providing the vital services that people need.”