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City Council approves “no cuts” budget and £300million capital investment programme
20/02/13Aberdeen City Council has approved its revenue budget for 2013/4 and a £300million five-year capital investment programme to make Aberdeen a "Smarter City".
The revenue budget includes no new cuts in services for the first time in the City Council's history, a freeze on council tax levels in the coming financial year, and no further reductions in the local authority's workforce.
City councillors also approved the latest updated version of the rolling Five-Year Business Plan, which focuses on the six 'Aberdeen The Smarter City' priorities and allows the City Council to plan strategically for the medium to long term.
They further agreed the City Council's first Corporate Workforce Plan covering the period to 2017/18, which is closely tailored to the Five-Year Business Plan and the budget process to ensure the council has a workforce with the skills and the capacity to meet business objectives and citizens' expectations for ever-improving service delivery.
This suite of three closely aligned documents allows Aberdeen City Council to carefully plan its finances, its service delivery and its workforce development for several years ahead with tight resources and in a difficult UK economic climate. The City Council is believed to be the only local authority in Scotland to have planned for the future so comprehensively.
City councillors also approved the 2012/13 Annual Report, which reflects upon achievements over the past year.
The revenue budget for 2013/14 will see £433million spent on key services over the coming financial year including £174.7million on education, culture and sport; £123.4million on social care and wellbeing; £50.4million on enterprise, planning and infrastructure; £39.9million on housing and environment; and £27.7million on corporate governance.
Some £1million has also been set aside to deal with the impact and challenges of imminent welfare reforms, and cash will be provided to bring in the Scottish minimum wage of £7.45 per hour and to allow a 1% pay increase for council staff.
Council tax levels will be frozen at current levels, with the Band D average remaining at £1,230.39 in 2013/14, excluding water charges.
City Council Leader Councillor Barney Crockett said: "The budget shows ambitious investment in the vital services we provide to the citizens of Aberdeen to ensure we continue to lead the way forward as an ambitious, achieving, smart city. We have already laid out our vision in 'Aberdeen The Smarter City' and now we are beginning the process of delivering on our promises to our citizens.
"This is a new chapter in the history of Aberdeen, marked by a budget which contains no further budget cuts. This is the first time in the history of Aberdeen City Council that this has been achieved.
"Across Scotland people will sit up and take notice of this achievement. This has been made possible through the dedication and hard work of all our staff not least through their sound financial management of the council, which has set the standard for the whole public sector and I would like to thank each and every one of them."
Councillors approved significant investment over five years in key projects aligned to the council's Smarter City priorities, some of which cut across more than one priority, including:
* £2.7million to meet the council's own technological investment requirements;
* a further £3million for the future management of our IT systems to ensure we can do business in smarter ways.
* £32million for Art Gallery refurbishment extension and a new museums collection centre;
* £13million to create a Tillydrone Care Village;
* £4.4million to redevelop the Burnside site as a new centre for vulnerable adults;
* £2.6million for children's home and respite centre upgrades, and refurbishments for Craigielea Children's Centre, Quarry Family Centre, Fergus House care home;
* £2million for a therapy gym and hydrotherapy pool at Rosewell House care home;
* £1.5million for children's care;
* £275,000 for the Aberdeen's City of Culture 2017 bid;
* £205,000 for personal care;
* £125,000 towards the new 50m pool at Linksfield and £110,000 to re-open and run Tullos Pool.
* £32million for a new academy for the south of the city;
* £14million for a purpose-built new school for children with additional support needs;
* £11.75million for a new Milltimber primary school;
* £11.5million for a new Bucksburn/Newhills Primary;
* £1.6million for extending Riverbank School in Tillydrone and a further £100,000 for other schools in that area;
* £800,000 for schools to spend on their own priorities;
* £750,000 for extra teachers;
* £200,000 for Additional Support Needs and £200,000 for extra nursery places.
* £6million for a new materials recovery facility;
* £5million for an energy from waste plant;
* £3.5million for composting plant for food waste and a further £3.5million for waste strategy improvements;
* £3million for household waste recycling centres;
* £3million for a refuse-derived fuel facility;
* £1.5million for co-mingled recycling collection to help recycling;
* £500,000 for better grass-cutting in cemeteries and public spaces.
* £20million on central Aberdeen infrastructure, including the long-awaited Berryden Corridor improvements and Union Street pedestrianisation;
* £10.1million for an A96 park-and-choose facility to boost public transport;
* £5.2million for a Dyce Drive/International Airport link road to further open the city for business and help people travelling by air to and from Aberdeen;
* £40,000 to improve Thomas Glover House and build on business links with Japan.
* £20million to improve our roads;
* £6million for Nestrans for strategic transport schemes;
* £1million for hydrogen buses to put Aberdeen at the forefront of world developments;
* £1million for broadband infrastructure;
* £570,000 for cycling, walking and safer streets across the city
* £140,000 to replace street lighting columns making our streets safer.
Councillor Crockett said: "This is a significant and inspiring investment programme which will transform our great city over the next five years.
"We are already one of the UK's leading cities, with investment flowing in from across the globe. Our promise to make our own £300million capital investment in the city's future will cement our position as a smart, achieving place for our citizens and our business, and ensure we continue to play a major role on the UK and European economic stage."