Council tax to rise and rents to increase as Fife budget approved

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The Fife Council budget for the coming year has been approved by councillors today and means tenants and homeowners will be asked to pay more.

Council Tax payments will rise 3% from April and council tenants will face a 4.9% increase in rents.

The move. part of a raft of cuts and tough decisions, in a bid to bridge the £12.8m Fife Council budget reduction for 2018/19.

It has also been confirmed that 190 jobs will go as part of Fife Council’s efforts to balance the financial books, though there will be no compulsory redundancies, with roles to go through a process of voluntary redundancy.

The rise in Council Tax will see the bill for a Band D property rise to £1186.09 per year, a move that is expected to net the joint SNP / Labour administration £4.1m.

While acknowledging the fundamental differences between Labour and the Nationalists, co-leader Cllr David Ross said there had been broad agreement between the two parties adding that the joint budget proposal “put Fife and the people of Fife first”.

he added tha tit was imperitive that jobs were protected whereever possible if services were to be retained.

Meanwhile co-leader Cllr David Alexanders blamed Westminster for the need to make cuts.

He said: “In reality we face a £200m cut to the block grant to Scotland from Westminster which makes for some tough decision making.”

The introduction of a £1 per day charge at out of town parking facilities at Halbeath and Ferrytoll is to be introduced, while there will also be a reduction in free fruit provision for schools, and there is to be a 25 pence increase in a range of social care services including meals on wheels.

However, a £15 increase in school uniform grant was welcomed.

And there was a pledge to expand breakfast clubs and the popular Quid a Kid and summer swims schemes across the region, while funds were also to be set aside to deal with the problem of fife’s unadopted roads.

The Conservative’s ammendment including no council tax rises, promised a ‘bolder vision’ said Conservative leader Cllr Dave Dempsey and branded the administration’s proposal “boring, dull and timid”.

He also called the park and ride charges “a nonsense” and said that their plan for no council tax rises would see the public using that money to bolster Fife’s ailing high streets.

However, the Conservative budget plan was roundly slammed by labour and SNP councillors. Cllr Ross saying “the Tories mask has slipped”, while SNP councillor John Beare delivered what was to be the quote of the day in terms of reaction from the chamber when he said: “Ours is a budget for the haves and the have nots, the Tory budget is a budget for the haves and the have yachts.”

The liberal Democrat proposal to borrow £10m to tackle roads maintenance was also rejected.

As expected the joint-administration’s budget was agreed by 48 votes, the Conservative and Lib Dem amendments drew 13 and seven votes respectfully.