Council budget set to support recovery and maintain local services

Fife councillors have approved a budget for 2022-23. Council tax will rise by 3% on Band D, to help avoid any cuts to services and allow additional one-off investment of £3.691m in a range of areas.

Today's budget (24 February) reinforces the council’s commitment to investing in Fife’s recovery from the pandemic and one-off investments supplement the £2.777 million recurring investments made last year.

Council tax: a 3% increase on Band D is an extra 75p per week, taking the annual bill to £1,319.22. Find out more about council tax, water charges, benefits and other help to pay bills in the council tax section

Extra investment for 2022-23:

  • £1.325m to boost roads maintenance budget
  • £0.750m for more street cleaning staff
  • £0.250m for community food and growing initiatives, including allotment expansion
  • £0.300m to support community recovery with enhanced summer activity programmes
  • £0.150m extra funding for Café Inc
  • £0.216m for more Fife Coast & Countryside Trust staff to support tourism and environmental management
  • £0.700m in local budgets to give each area committee an extra £0.100m to spend on local priorities

Council Co-Leader David Ross said: "This is a budget to sustain local services and support recovery. We had hoped this year would be less dominated by Covid but, as restrictions continued, it remained extremely challenging for households, businesses and local services.

“So the budget we’ve set for the year ahead recognises the financial pressures the Council’s facing and uses the small amount available for investment in a prudent manner. The money will be used to tackle issues raised as public priorities, and to help some of those most affected by the pandemic.

“We know that household budgets across Fife are also being squeezed. We’ve tried to limit increases in rent and council tax as far as possible, keeping them below inflation. But an increase is necessary to avoid damaging cuts to services and job losses that would also affect Fife families.

“We’re still committed to helping people cope with the rising costs of living. We’ll be spending £11m on hardship support next year - in addition to one-off Covid recovery funding - and our welfare support programmes target help to people who need it most.”

Council Co-Leader David Alexander added: "This is the second year in a row that we’ve been able to invest more in some services, without reducing funding in other areas.

“Last year we invested significantly in Fife’s infrastructure. We’re topping that up with more money for road maintenance and street cleaning, operations which have become more challenging than ever over the past couple of years.

“Added to that is funding to improve lives as we work through recovery. Investment to give people more access to healthy food – with immediate provision through Café Inc holiday programmes, and in the long-term through food growing initiatives. And investment in more summer activities this year, recognising just how much particularly the youngest and oldest in our communities have missed out on during the pandemic.

“Given the uncertainty around finance in future years, these investments are limited to 2022-23. But this budget will provide a solid foundation for local services. After the elections in May, it will be for the new Council to review spending and investment and set out its medium and longer term priorities for Fife.”

See all the reports and budget proposals put to Fife Council, and watch the meeting of 24 February here.