Council sets budget for 2015/16

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has set its budget for the financial year 2015/16 with a revenue figure for the year of £111m.

The Comhairle maintains a Council tax Band D figure of £1024, the lowest in Scotland.

Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell recommended that the Comhairle accept the Scottish Government settlement offer however he highlighted that the Scottish Government’s decision to numbers in relation to teacher numbers could lead to a ring fencing of teachers at a time of falling school rolls and increased pressures for other services such as Care.

Cllr Campbell also stressed that further savings in the region of £8.2m would be required in the next two years of the Comhairle and that the Comhairle would be consulting with communities on budget choices.

The Comhairle agreed to allocate an additional £500k to care services in recognition of the growing demand upon those services.

Completed Capital projects over the past year have included Harris House, The Acres Accommodation Unit, The Wind Turbine at Creed Park, and the section of the Spinal Route from Kyles Lodge to Leverburgh whilst ongoing works include Ardveenish Harbour, External Changing Facilities at Lionalceit and two more sections of the Spinal Route at Stockinish and Carinish.

The Comhairle has also agreed to move forward with the Ardseileach Care project and there is a summer opening planned for the Lews Castle Museum. The Comhairle also aims to build the seventh new school of its term in office in North Uist.

Cllr Campbell concluded: “The hard work we put in last year has enabled us to manage a fourth successive year with a significant reduction in funding. The budget I am recommending for the coming year leaves us as well placed to serve our communities as can be expected given the challenges that lie ahead. I want to see genuine participation in the budget setting with all Comhairle Members and local communities playing their part in the process.”