Council tax is set to be frozen in North Ayrshire from April for the year ahead according to budget proposals.

Councillors will vote on the £365 million budget on Thursday, which recommends £490,000 proposed new cuts to balance the books.

A £500,000 new pot of money has been proposed to make the school day cheaper for families struggling financially. And another £2 million would go towards renewable energy plans if the budget gets the go-ahead.

Council service fees and charges are to be kept at last year’s levels - with no price increases.

Press were told yesterday how the public local government purse is under strain from Covid and not enough Government funding.

Head of finance at the council Mark Boyd said: “It has been and will continue to be a challenging situation for local government and arms length organisations to manage through this difficult time. “

The council expects to get £303.8 million from the Scottish Government for the 12 months ahead.

Holyrood is allocating the local authority £2.18 million to maintain a council tax freeze for this upcoming financial year. Based on the freeze the council expects to rake in about £58.6 million from the charge over the next 12 months.

A total of £490,000 cuts have also been laid out by finance bosses for 2021 to 2022.

They include £200,000 savings in nursery parenting programmes, £100,000 on day care and child minding and redesign of communities headquarters support to save £100,000.

Another £90,000 is expected to be scrimped through new ways of working using digital technology.

A number of cuts approved earlier are to be rolled out.

New projects for potential investment in the revenue budget include £500,000 towards school costs including uniforms, computer access and food.

Speaking about the proposed fund, council leader Joe Cullinane said: “There is the opportunity for us to put some money into reducing the cost of the school day and there will be three strands to that. One will be about food provision and food with dignity.”

He said it will build on the work achieved with food larders in some communities, including Ardrossan’s Whitlees.

The Kilwinning Labour councillor added: “There will be a fund there to look to address general costs such as uniforms etc. and there will be a digital strand to that.

"We have learned through the pandemic the challenges of young people having access to digital devices and being able to connect to the Internet particularly during home learning for schools.”

Don't miss the latest Ayrshire headlines – sign up to our free daily newsletter here