COUNCIL tax in Upper Nithsdale will be going up after councillors in Dumfries and Galloway agreed to £13m worth of cuts in their 2018/19 budget.

The council met on Tuesday, February 27 to debate two budget proposals, one from the Labour/SNP administration and one from the Conservative group.

The administration received enough support to agree their proposals which will could result in job losses.

Figures released by the administration in their draft budget detailed savings of £2.3m as a result of developing a “smaller, more flexibly skilled workforce for the future”.

Over £800,000 of which will come from offering “small number of teaching staff “ early retirement.

The figures also revealed the council will need to make an additional £30m in savings by 2021.

Council tax will go up by the maximum allowed three per cent to help bridge the funding gap.

The budget does allow for the continuation of the council’s Town Centre Living Fund which will see £1m invested in the region’s town centres, providing Empty Homes Grants and Below Tolerable Standard Grants.

After the meeting, Council Leader Elaine Murray said: “I am pleased that our budget has been approved today. This budget is forward thinking and makes the best use of the resources we have.

“We will be transforming our customer experience through better use of digital technology, modernising service delivery and maximising service delivery

“We will be changing how we consult to better inform out decision-making; listening to the people who use our services and empowering frontline staff to tell us what works well and what could be changed, to enable us to make the right decisions.

“I am particularly proud that we expanded our new anti-poverty funding today including new initiatives that are focused on supporting children and young people living in poverty to be able to access the same opportunities as others including providing meals during school holidays and providing free sanitary products in schools.

“Both these measures will improve the quality of life experienced by many of our young people. It is totally unacceptable that there are young people in our region who are going without a meal or essential sanitary products and that is why we are taking steps to address this.”