Residents can decide budget priorities

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The Scottish Government has launched a £2 million fund that gives people a say on how public money is spent in their area.

There are currently no programmes in the Borders but a Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the new Community Choices Fund and will be discussing it with communities over the coming months to explore opportunities to work together and promote this new opportunity.”

The £2 million Community Choices Fund is targeted particularly at work being done in deprived areas, and it is the first time community groups as well as public authorities will be able to apply for funding to organise their own Community Choices budgeting event.

It gives communities the opportunity to make decisions on how and where investment is spent in their area.

Local Government and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The launch of this fund is important because we recognise that every community in Scotland has different needs and challenges. We want to see more decision-making handed to local people – especially in choosing local spending priorities.

“Participatory budgeting is gaining real ground in Scotland with a large number of councils taking the lead to date and helping to organise over 50 events this year. These events have included decisions on housing revenue, roads capital spending, and the procurement of a bus service.

“However we want to make sure we are reaching out to people in their own localities, which is why we are now expanding and opening up opportunities to community organisations and community councils to apply for this funding.”