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City Council approves balanced budget and near-400million investment programme


Aberdeen City Council has approved its annual revenue budget for 2014/15 – and a 397million five-year capital investment plan to make Aberdeen a "Smarter City".

The budget includes no new cuts in services for the second year in succession, a continued freeze on council tax levels for a further year, and no reductions in the City Council's workforce.

City councillors also approved indicative five-year revenue and capital programme budgets, and the Strategic Workforce Plan 2014/15–2018/19, which together focus on the six key 'Aberdeen – The Smarter City' priorities and allow the City Council to plan strategically for the medium and longer term

The revenue budget for 2013/14 will see 440million spent on key services over the coming financial year – including 169.3million on Education, Culture and Sport; 122.9million on Social Care and Wellbeing; 39.5million on Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure; 36.2million on Housing and Environment; and 28.1million on Corporate Governance.

Gross growth in services for 2014/15 compared to 2013/14 totals 5.702million in Education, Culture and Sport, 3.233million in Social Care and Wellbeing, 1.835million in Housing and Environment, 678,000 in Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure, and 490,000 in Corporate Governance.

The City Council has also set aside 11.3million in reserves to ensure it can deal with unexpected and unplanned expenditure if necessary.

Some 1million has also been included to deal with the impact and challenges of imminent welfare reforms, and cash will be provided to bring in the Scottish minimum wage of 7.50 per hour and to allow a 1% pay increase for council staff.

Council tax levels for 2014/15 will be frozen at current levels, with the Band D average remaining at 1,230.39 excluding water charges.

Councillors approved significant investment over five years in key projects aligned to the Smarter City priorities, including:

Smarter Governance
 • 66,000 for the European Parliamentary Elections and the Scottish Independence Referendum;
 • 10,000 to improve communication with our citizens.

Smarter Living
 • 29.35million for Art Gallery redevelopment and 3.7million for a new museum's collection centre;
 • 1million for Music Hall restoration;
 • 1.26million to complete the Victoria house homelessness hub;
 • 4.4million for a new Burnside day centre;
 • 1.55million to upgrade children's homes;
 • 2million for Rosewell House care home;
 • 13million for the planned Tillydrone extra-care village and community hub;
 • 250,000 increase in the care budget for older people;
 • 416,000 investment to increase the rates paid to external homecare providers;
 • 500,000 contribution towards the soon-to-open Aquatics Centre;
 • 400,000 to create a step-change cultural programme;
 • 3,000 to cover the costs of the annual International Workers May Day Rally.

Smarter People
 • 18.5million for a new Additional Support Needs school;
 • 11.75million for a new Milltimber Primary;
 • 32million for a new academy for the south of the city;
 • 1.8million to provide 600 hours of nursery care for three and four-year-olds;
 • 1.2million for Curriculum for Excellence, focusing on literacy and numeracy, and extending the city campus model to offer more opportunities for vocational learning;
 • 639,000 extra funding for all schools to be spent at local level on local priorities;
 • 20,000 for Tillydrone Lads Club to support the health and wellbeing of its members;
 • extra funding for leased community centres: 500 each plus additional funding to meet insurance costs.

Smarter Environment
 • 861,000 to continue to expand food waste collection;
 • 1.9million to finish restoration of the old Ness landfill site;
 • 23.9million to implement the Council's zero waste strategy;
 • 50% cut in allotment charges for the over-60s;
 • reducing residents' parking permits fees by 10 per year;
 • limit parking charges to up to 8pm;
 • 200,000 to boost our carbon reduction plan.

Smarter Economy
 • 20million for city centre regeneration;
 • 13.27million for the Third Don Crossing;
 • 57million for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route;
 • 15.6million for Berryden corridor improvements, 6million to improve South College Street, and 6.1million for Union Street pedestrianisation;
 • 14.45million for A96 park-and-choose facility and the Dyce Drive link road.

Smarter Mobility
 • 3.2million investment in hydrogen buses;
 • 1.8million on the Accelerate Aberdeen superfast broadband initiative.

City Council Leader Councillor Barney Crockett said: "It gives me great pride to announce that for the second year running I can present a balanced budget with no additional savings, and a substantial and ambitious capital investment programme.

"We are investing heavily in our schools, in our social work services and in our local economy to achieve the improvements which we all want to see and which we know we can deliver.

"Over the next five years we will face further austerity but we can be confident that the prudent financial management of this council means that we are not only fully prepared but also ready to invest wisely to safeguard our future.

"This Council has a clear focus on our local communities and the outcomes that they want to see us deliver on. We are placing our communities at the heart of our decision-making, but equally ensuring that our staff are at the centre of our improvement and transformation plans.

"This Administration has taken this city and its finances to a new level of stability. It has listened to the citizens of Aberdeen in delivering its budget and will ensure that we deliver on our promises for them."