CUMNOCK and Doon Valley residents will have to fork out more cash as tax bills have been confirmed to rise.

Households will face a four per cent council tax hike in East Ayrshire from April 1.

It comes as council bosses try to balance the books and plug a funding gap of £8.9m in the coming year.

They then have to tackle a further £20m over the next two years and so have been trying to slash costs.

As a result Band A householders who normally pay £840.93 annually will end up paying about £33 extra per year.

Band D proper ties owners could fork out about £50 more.

But cash was secured for holiday lunches to help find a sustainable way of providing free school meals during school holidays, and for the Scottish Child Abuse Rnquiry over next 3 years to help third sector organisations who are supporting survivors of Child Abuse.

The Welfare Reform Fund and Town centre clean ups were also allocated money in the new budget.

Councillors voted on the proposed rise at London Road headquarters this week.

Officials have steered clear of the maximum allowed council tax hike of 4.79 per cent, opting to recommend a less steep jump instead.

Cumnock Chronicle: Money secured for school lunchesMoney secured for school lunches

More than 70 cutbacks were on the table as East Ayrshire Council tried to close the gap.

All departments came up with ways to slash spending to save about £8.98 million over the next year.

The proposals went go in front of councillors on in Kilmarnock with plans to shave about £1.2million costs from education include cutting staff cover and reviewing special needs transport to school.

Within the safer communities department, there are plans to reduce funding to the police by £30,000.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “Whilst minority administrations in other places might struggle to make decisions, we in East Ayrshire celebrate the fact that a diversity of ideas can be discussed and accommodated, without red lines or backstop, to produce a positive outcome in challenging circumstances.

“This is a clear demonstration of our shared commitment among to tackle some of the most pressing needs in our communities, including improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people; adding life to years for older people; tackling social isolation; tackling child poverty and encouraging community-led regeneration.

“This budget recognises the continuing challenge for Health and Social Care. Our Joint board continues to outperform others and I’m pleased that there will be an increase in the resources available to support this good work.

“We are focussing our efforts on adapting to our changing circumstances and this budget is another step in that direction.”

Councillor John McGhee, Leader of the Labour group said: “Despite the onerous burden due to this year’s financial settlement, I believe the budget presented today is an example of intense consultation, consideration and a collective desire to put the people we represent at the heart of our every-day business.

“We are trying to ensure our services are flexible and responsive to local needs and will be taking a fresh approach to dealing with vacant and derelict buildings within our communities and I look forward to progress on this. Austerity is not over and we continue to face challenges in future years.”