Big Conversation Budget FAQs
Big Conversation Budget FAQs
Budget Conversation FAQs
During our Budget Conversation, you have asked us a number of questions on a wide range of issues. We have answered some of these below and we will continue to update these as part of our ongoing engagement with communities.
Economic Development, Planning & Climate Change
How much money has been spent on the new road network/cycle path?
Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling project is one of the cornerstone projects of the £90.2million Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. It will create two active travel arteries, connecting people and places in the heart of Stirling like never before. The project received £6.8 million in funding from Sustrans’ Places for Everyone fund, backed by Transport Scotland, as well as £2.5 million of Scottish Government investment from the City Region Deal and £258k from Stirling Council’s developer contributions allocation. Levering in funding from other sources, like the city deal, and other national projects are important ways the council and other partners can get investment to the area while protecting, as much as we can, the core funding of the council.
Why are the roadworks at the Station taking so long?
Improvements to the station forecourt have been complex and were led by Scotrail. The new active travel infrastructure is currently in it completion phase and will be completed by November 2023. The complexity of this project has required close coordination from a number of partners and these types of project do take time, however the project has been delivered relatively well and the end results will significantly improve the area.
Has a safety impact survey been carried out on the new cycle path at Causewayhead Road?
Before and after any major road infrastructure work, safety audits are required. Once the Causewayhead section is completed the necessary safety audits will be completed and acted upon.
What is Council policy on Biodiversity?
The Council’s Alive with Nature Plan can be found by visiting: Alive with Nature Plan | Stirling Council
What is the Council’s policy on charging points?
Our policy on EV Charging Points can be found by visiting: Electric Vehicle Policy | Stirling Council
Is there a planting strategy to grow trees, plants that are sustainable and will absorb CO2?
Stirling Council has set a target of planting more than one million new trees and managing half of its land for biodiversity by 2045 as part of a bold package of measures which will aim to make the area the greenest in Scotland. The tree-planting and land management programmes are part of the Council’s ‘Alive with Nature’ Plan which sets out the actions the local authority and its partners have identified to create a healthier and more resilient natural environment across Stirling.
Hire bikes are not working in Bannockburn - is the service still in use?
The Forthbike scheme was managed and run by Forth Environment Link and is no longer operational. The Council is currently exploring alternative bike hire scheme options and will share details in due course.
Is there a transport strategy as part of the climate emergency and if so are the rural villages represented?
Yes, we are currently developing both the Active Travel and Public Transport strategies which will be out to public consultation over the winter 2023. These will fully incorporate the needs of all our communities, including rural ones.
What are we doing to encourage businesses into Stirling?
A proactive marketing campaign, driven through Invest in Stirling, is in place to market our area and attract businesses to Stirling.
A new Stirling’s Strategic Investment Plan will set out a vision and series of actions which will enable Stirling to unlock its potential, a place abound with innovative businesses, scaling businesses and sector leaders. The plan will be held to account with key targets on job creation and new business development.
We also engage with key investment agencies, such as Scottish Cities Alliance, Scottish Development International and UK Department for Trade and Industry to promote investment opportunities in Stirling.
Investing in places, at development sites such as Kildean and Forthside, will also make Stirling a more attractive place to encourage businesses – providing high quality accommodation and space.
All of our activity is carried out in partnership with local organisations, including STEP and University of Stirling.
What is the City Region Deal?
The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal is a package of investment in innovation and infrastructure that will help drive inclusive economic growth. Funded by the UK and Scottish Governments, Stirling Council, Clackmannanshire Council and the University of Stirling, the City Region Deal will invest more than £214 million over 10 years. The deal is also expected to unlock private investment of over £640 million and deliver over 5,000 new jobs. For more info, see: www.stirling.gov.uk/council-and-committees/about-the-council/stirling-and-clackmannanshire-city-region-deal/
As a young person what are the employment opportunities within Stirling? What are the main businesses?
Stirling offers a variety of employment opportunities across a number of different sectors.
Our business base is made up of mainly of small and medium enterprises, but we also host large employers across the financial services, manufacturing and food and drink.
We work closely with Forth Valley College and University of Stirling to align skills with employment opportunities. Stirling Councils Employability team also works with local employers to match those looking for employment with opportunities. A number of specific programmes and schemes are in place.
What is happening with the hub and will there be access for groups outside library hours?
A full review of all hubs has taken place to review opening hours and ensure that the times are accessible, in line with business requirements. A programme of business support is also about to launched, with a visible presence from STEP Business Advisors as well as training and advice programmes from Stirling Council and key partners.
We have an aging population who don't drive can't get to retail park. What is for them in town?
Stirling’s city centre offers a wide range of retail and hospitality businesses for the Stirling area’s diverse population. Park and Ride buses operate to Springkerse.
What is being done to encourage regrowth in city centre? For example, coffee shops, charity shops, hairdressers.
Diversifying and repurposing: a recent independent review of town centres in Scotland highlights opportunities to expand the range of services and facilities that city and town centres offer, to reuse redundant buildings and to provide new homes for a wide range of people.
A vision for our urban centres is essential – including opportunities to develop flexible workspaces, provision of new leisure and cultural opportunities, and improving/increasing the hospitality offer.
This supports the principles of ‘town centre first’ and 20-minute neighbourhoods, incentivising and encouraging people to shop locally, and cutting out unnecessary car travel, while encouraging entrepreneurship, investment and vibrancy in local high streets. Quality and experience are key drivers, for locals and visitors alike.
We are also leveraging investment to support city and town centre upgrades to buildings and the public realm, improving their appearance and creating an improved sense of place. We will undertake this work alongside communities and business associations.
We want to use our plans for cultural and creative growth to galvanise a range of engaging and participative activities in our city, towns and villages, driving footfall and spend to local businesses and creating a sense of excitement around our streets and public spaces.
Would Stirling Council think of introducing a Tourist Tax and the money made stays within the areas visited?
The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in May 2023. If passed, the legislation will give local councils the ability to a collect a fee or levy from overnight visitors if they wish to do so. The bill is still going through the legislative process at the Scottish Parliament.
Could the Council take donations from overseas visitors/students who wish to contribute?
See our above response on the Visitor Levy Bill for more info on this subject.
Would parents be willing to pay more for nursery childcare?
A budget proposal has been drafted to increase nursery fees. Please see our online survey for more details.
Environment and Place
How much did the council invest on roads for the UCI event?
We are undertaking various road improvement works across the Council area this year as part of our rolling annual roads maintenance programme. The improvements are funded by the Council and form part of an overall £7.5m investment programme to improve the roads infrastructure in the area over the current financial year. The programmed road works that directly affected UCI routes were planned for financial year 23/24 regardless of the Cycling World Championships events taking place.
Why are potholes poorly repaired?
Stirling Council has responsibility for maintaining more than 1000km of roads and all pothole repairs are prioritised according to severity and the use of the road. The service is committed to enhancing pothole repair standards, recognising the imperative to ensure road safety and road asset integrity. To this end, the service is undergoing a review of all processes, plant, resource, and innovation to continually improve. Potholes that may be a danger to road users can be reported by calling us on 01786 404040, while potholes that don't pose an immediate threat can be reported using our online form: www.stirling.gov.uk/roads-transport-and-parking/roads-and-pavements/report-a-pothole
How will changing the bin collections save money and still deliver a 'good' service?
Moving to a four-day collection week should remove the need for overtime. A new shift pattern will also afford crews the opportunity to familiarise themselves with weekly collection routes, reducing missed bins and complaints, delivering a reliable household waste collection service to the residents of Stirling.
People and Community Wellbeing
Does Active Stirling generate an income? If so where does it go?
Active Stirling generates trading income, including that from membership fees and pay as you go use. The income is allocated against the running costs of the organisation.
Is there planned investment for facilities (hockey pitches)?
There is no significant capital investment planned for Stirling Sports Village currently. The existing hockey pitch is playable.
Street Lighting - could it be switched off
Switching off street lighting would be considered by the Gender Based Violence Partnership to be extremely detrimental to the safety of women and girls.
Why do we have a £13m gap?
The council’s budget is under pressure for a number of reasons. We need to make an estimated £13m of savings in the next financial year and another £5m of savings in the year after that to balance the budget. Additional costs include inflationary pressures, including rising energy costs, which are having a significant impact on the cost of providing services.
Managing the ongoing recovery from Covid-19 and its longer-term impact, now that one-off Covid-19 funding has ended and meeting the cost of new pay awards is having an impact on council budgeting across Scotland.
Other pressures include increasing demand for services from a population that is ageing as well as higher costs of capital programmes as a result of inflation, slippage due to the pandemic and shortages in construction materials.
The majority of Scottish councils’ budgets comes from the Scottish Government. In Stirling Council 79% of the budget comes from a Scottish Government grant and our share of the Government’s non-domestic rates or business rates with the rest raised from council tax to support the budget.
That’s why we need to look at all areas of where money is being spent as well as opportunities to increase income.To do that we need to know what the impact of individual savings proposals or increases to charges mean for you. That’s why we have created our online survey.
Where does my Council tax go?
Council Tax income makes up around 20% of total funding that Councils receive to help support the costs of delivering services to our communities and citizens. These include:
- Educating our children & young people
- Caring for adults
- Council housing & homelessness
- Maintaining roads and protecting the environment
- Caring for our children & young people
- Collecting and recycling waste
- Libraries, supporting residents and communities
- Economy, tourism; planning, sustainability & climate change
- Environmental health
- Maintaining public buildings
What areas of Council funding are ring fenced?
At a national level, the key areas of ring fencing comprise the Scottish Government’s priority areas of health and social security.
At a Council level, the overall grant funding received from the Scottish Government comprises two main areas:
- Core revenue grant that is not earmarked for specific purposes
- Specific grants that are ring-fenced for particular purposes.
The main areas of ring-fenced grants include:
- Education Pupil Equity Fund £1.5m
- Criminal Justice Social Work £1.2m
- Education Early Learning and Childcare Expansion (Nursery provision) £9m
How much is owed in unpaid Council Tax in 2022/23?
As at 31 March 2023, the sum of £8.6m was owed to the Council for unpaid Council Tax. This covers the period since 1993 when the tax was introduced in Scotland. It should be noted that the Council has accounted for a bad debt provision of £6.8m (79%) against the outstanding debt.
PPP/PFI projects – what are the ongoing costs and why do they cost so much
Stirling Council makes agreed unitary charge payments each year to the PFI/PPP contractors, which are increased by inflation and reduced if the contractors fails to meet availability and performance standards. The unitary charge paid to the PFI/PPP contractors is allocated between service operating costs, principal and interest costs and any capitalised lifecycle costs.
Payments still to be made under the PFI/PPP contracts as at 31 March 2023 are as follows:
- Balfron PFI (contract ends 2026) - £15m
- Stirling Schools PPP (contract ends 2039) - £283m
How much does Balfron High School cost and why are we using a private management company?
In March 2000, Stirling Council entered into a PFI contract for the replacement of Balfron High School. The new school became operational in August 2001. Stirling Council makes annual payments under the Balfron High School PFI agreement to Balfron School Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Rock Topco Ltd, who operate the school on behalf of the Council. The Council made net unitary charge payments of £3.9m in 2022/23. Stirling Council also receives £1.6m of annual support grant from the Scottish Government as part funding for the project.
Where does all the Council’s money come from?
The Council’s income comes from three main sources:
- Scottish Government Grant which covers the day-to-day running costs of the Council and makes up around 71% of funding.
- Council Tax income which makes up around 20% of funding.
- Council Housing rents which make up around 8% of funding.
Councils also receive funding from Fees & Charges, i.e. income received directly from services they provide, e.g. car parking charges, school meals income, planning fees, etc.
Can you tell me the make-up of Stirling Council’s housing expenditure?
Total Housing expenditure of £25.6m includes £23.3m to maintain and upgrade the Council’s housing stock which is funded from £23.3m rental income from tenants. The remaining £2.3m of housing expenditure relates mainly to the cost of the Homeless service.
What does Killin's council tax go towards?
Please see our previous response on Council Tax that is relevant for all of Stirling’s communities.
Could you generate income by collecting overdue council tax and rent arrears?
Prompt action is taken by the Housing Service to maximise former rent arrears recovery. Performance is measured and monitored on a monthly basis.
What happened to the clock and how much will it be to repair?
Stirling Council agreed on 5 October that the historic and much-loved Christie Clock should be rebuilt. Specialist consultants will now identify and decide the most appropriate conservation and rebuild process for the structure, before a detailed cost plan and work programme is presented to Council for approval before the end of March 2024. See our news story for the latest update: https://www.stirling.gov.uk/news/stirling-council-update-on-christie-clock/
Background data and statistics
What are the demographics of Stirling - rural/ urban?
This webpage provides key links to statistics and other figures for the Stirling Council area, including the population estimates for the main settlements: www.stirling.gov.uk/council-and-committees/performance-and-statistics/facts-and-figures/
The National Records of Scotland is also a source of date on the Stirling Council area: www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files/statistics/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-council-profile.html
Can you share the Council Priorities so people can match/ prioritise the budget
The Council’s key priorities can be viewed here: www.stirling.gov.uk/news/stirling-council-agrees-new-key-priorities-for-the-coming-years/
It would be more helpful and informative to have a breakdown of service costs and spends to help inform the process.
A breakdown of service costs can be found on the Big Conversation webpage: www.stirling.gov.uk/bigconversation