Council counts the pennies

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TOUGH times are ahead for East Renfrewshire, according to council leader Jim Fletcher.

Ahead of today’s (Thursday) budget, the councillor told The Extra: “The outlook for local government is not particularly bright. However, the council is lean and flexible going into a difficult period.”

The council will be forced to make £25 million of savings over three years.

The budget is expected be passed by the administration today — however the opposition will submit an amendment.

Within this proposal is a continued pledge to freeze council tax, while ERC’s employees will have a living wage of at least £7.65.

There is to be significant investment in Barrhead, with plans for a £3.4 million Auchenback community centre, an £11.2 million investment in Barrhead High and a new £3.8 million sports facility to be called Barrhead Foundry.

Young people are set to benefit from a £211,000 spend on extra teaching for borderline pupils during exam time and the graduate internship programme will continue with a £50,000 investment.

Mixed tenure estates will be spruced up thanks to £300,000, and £100,000 will provide home adaptations for the elderly.

Over 85s in East Renfrewshire increase by four per cent each year, and the council leader believes the age group to be a priority.

Cllr Fletcher added: “These improvements will allow the elderly to stay in their own homes for longer which. It will help ensure later years of our citizens are as dignified as possible.”

A £6.5 million investment will be made to part-fund Eastwood Health and Care Centre.