The council has approved its budget for 2021/22 with a focus on spending which helps residents and communities rebuild and recover from the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The council agreed to freeze council tax for residents in the next year, and reaffirmed its commitment to its Community Investment Fund, which will see hundreds of millions of pounds invested in new and improved facilities.
There will be no closures of culture and leisure facilities and no compulsory redundancies.
Key spending commitments agreed included:
- An additional £3.95million for adult social care;
- An increase in clothing and footwear grants from £110 to £140 for eligible children, and an extension of the grant to include families with children in Early Years settings who meet the criteria;
- An additional £500,000 for local development programme projects;
- An extra £400,000 to enhance vocational education projects for young people;
- £400,000 for the anti-social behaviour taskforce to ensure private homeowners are able to access the same support as council tenants;
- An additional £300,000 for grants to owner-occupiers to ensure those in mixed tenure buildings can contribute to structural upgrades.
A range of environmental improvements were also announced. These included:
- New Recover NL environmental squads, who will undertake clean-ups within all communities and work with local community volunteers and third-sector organisations;
- £680,000 for road improvements and £150,000 across North Lanarkshire for the ‘Drop the Kerb’ initiatives to increase accessibility in country parks, cemeteries and key active travel routes;
- £250,000 for upgrades to existing cemeteries, including improved paths;
- An additional £150,000 for targeted pest control;
- The opportunity for every primary and ASN pupil to be able to plant a tree in recognition of the climate challenges faced in the run-up to COP26;
- Christmas lights to be reinstated across North Lanarkshire, and previous reductions to the number of grit bins available to residents to be reversed.
At the meeting, councillors recognised those who have died due to COVID-19 with a minute’s silence, and also paid tribute to staff from across the council and in other organisations who have continued to provide vital local services throughout the pandemic.