Aberdeenshire Council has confirmed it will cap the increased cost of children’s and leisure services across the north-east to ensure it is offering value for money.
The council’s director of children’s services, Maria Walker, announced the plan in a report to be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the authority’s education, learning and leisure committee.
It comes on the heels of a scrutiny report, earlier this year, which suggested the authority should increase the price of services to better reflect the cost they represent to people in Aberdeenshire.
If approved, it would mean the cost of gym memberships or even renting a school hall could increase by as much as 5%.
Ms Walker said the increase would come into effect on April 1 and would reflect “greater transparency” and “reflect salary and other inflationary increases”.
Last night, a spokesman for the council said it was unlikely any one service would be increased by the maximum amount – greater than the rate of inflation.
He added: “There’s going to be a full review of education and children’s services charges throughout 2016/17 to make sure it properly reflects the service that’s delivered.
“But, while that’s going on, what they have said is they’re going to introduce a maximum 5% increase on charges. It’s things like the hire of school halls, swimming lessons and football pitches.
“Normally, if charges are below inflation, it doesn’t go before committee.”
In real terms, it could mean that joining Active Aberdeenshire, which allows residents across the north-east to use council pools and gyms, could go up by £1.
A current adult monthly membership costs £23.50.
Ms Walker’s report follows last month’s announcement that people in care with an income of more than £16,000 would be expected to pay more for their services in the new financial year.
Thousands of letters were sent to council service users, telling them that the cap that all people pay towards their care – 35% – was being removed.
The local authority believes it will mean people who can afford to pay more will make a “fair” contribution.