Stirling Council approves 2024-25 budget amid unprecedented financial pressures

Stirling Council has approved its budget for 2024-25 which addresses a shortfall of over £16m and delivers a package of investments that prioritises key frontline services. 

A picture of the National Wallace Monument and Stirling in the background
Stirling Council has approved its budget for 2024-25

At a meeting of Council today (29 Feb), councillors agreed by a majority to the administration’s proposals amid an incredibly challenging financial landscape for local government, with external funding pressures, rising costs and inflation, and increasing demand for services all contributing factors.

A total revenue budget of almost £287m will fund core services for communities. This includes over £146m being spent on schools and nurseries, while more than £22m will deliver the likes of waste and recycling, roads maintenance and improvements and land services.

Other key announcements include:

  • Council Tax will be frozen at last year’s levels, through a grant of £2.923m from the Scottish Government (equating to a 4.9% increase in Council Tax).
  • A library modernisation fund of £100k will also be created from service concession monies to explore options for future sustainability of the service.
  • The real living wage of £12 per hour will be applied from 1 April 2023 and be extended to the council’s apprentice cohort from 1 April 2024.

Capital programme

The budget, which was set following engagement with residents through the Big Conversation, will also see £44.294m invested in the Council’s capital programme.

This includes:

  • £14.901m for schools and other education settings, including the new Callander Primary School and the new ASN provisions at Bannockburn and McLaren High Schools.
  • £6.579m to maintain and improve roads and bridges.
  • £1.040m in technology improvements across council services.
  • £3.561m for City Region Deal projects.

Budget position

The report on the council’s budget stated the council’s core grant allocation from the Scottish Government for 2024-25 decreased (once ring-fenced grants and new funding which comes with spending commitments were removed) by £1.295m from last year. It also forecast an estimated funding gap of over £9m in 2025-26 and more than £7.8m in 2026-27.

The £16.3m shortfall in the year’s budget was bridged by savings (£8.257m), the use of one-off reserves (£4.993m) an increase of fees and charges and the grant to freeze council tax (£2.923m).


The savings proposals to plug the gap were informed by feedback from residents who took part in the council’s ‘Big Conversation’, which featured an online survey that 3,400 people took part in and 24 drop-in events across the council area attended by almost 700 people.

A total of 98 savings proposals were accepted. These included: increases to the garden waste charge and parking charges; the removal of funding for events like Open Streets and Stirling’s Hogmanay; a reduction in grant funding to groups such as Citizen’s Advice, Stirling Community Enterprise, Stirling Voluntary Enterprise and Sistema; a reduction in the libraries budget (but no closures), the redesign and restructure of a number of services; and the removal of the P5 primary school swimming programme.

Among the 41 savings rejected were the removal of the garden waste charge concession, a review of commercial waste collection, a reduction of supported bus services, the removal of the events budget for Bloody Scotland, the Stirling Science Festival, the Christmas Lights switch on and Stirling’s 900th anniversary; a reduction of funding for the Smith Museum; stopping the CCTV service; a reduction in community centres; the removal of the music tuition service; and a reduction in the education psychology service.

The full list of savings, as well as the political motions, can be downloaded here.

Difficult decisions

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “While I’m pleased we have been able to agree a budget, it has been extremely painful to deliver one with so many savings attached to it that cover a wide range of services. 

“However, there was acknowledgement across all political groups today that difficult decisions were unavoidable given the unprecedented financial pressures facing Stirling Council and every Scottish local authority.

“Our choices have been informed by the feedback from residents in the Big Conversation with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our communities – my thanks again to everyone who participated in the Big Conversation.

“We remain committed to meet the needs of our communities in this challenging environment and achieving our key priorities. We will also make significant investments in our key services and infrastructure that will help us improve the lives for the people across Stirling, empower communities, reduce inequalities and support the transformation of service delivery.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the council officers and everyone else involved for all of their hard work in getting us to this point where we have set a balanced budget after a hugely challenging and arduous process that started last summer.

“The unfortunate reality is that huge pressures on local government finances will remain over the coming years and we need to continue taking steps to secure the council’s long-term financial sustainability so we can deliver the key services we all rely on.”

More information

The full budget papers, including the motions put forward, can be downloaded here and a recording of the meeting can be viewed on the Council’s webcast page.