HIGH inflation will almost triple the bills faced by West Dunbartonshire Council in the next five years, according to estimates.

Ahead of the budget setting meeting on March 1, papers show the impact on utilities in particular.

Gas is expected to cost the council £1.5million next year, rising to £2.1m by 2027/28. Electricity goes up more moderately from £1.1m to £1.6 in that time.

Street lighting, however, will jump from £57,000 in 2023/24 to £213,000. Landfill tax will increase from £12,000 to £60,000. And non-domestic rates paid by the council will climb from £23,000 to and estimated £111,000.

The management fee for West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust will quadruple from £200,000 to £1m.

Overall the total non-pay inflation will see costs jump from £2.7m to £6.3m in five years.

Other cost pressures include the impact of back interest rate increases on the millions in loans used by all councils to keep the lights on and build new capital projects. That cost will be £4.6m next year, but an estimated £10.4m. 

The cost of non-domestic rates revaluations will see a £357,000 bill rise to £2.1m. 

And the council is adding£4m to their calculations by 2027/28 for “unidentified pressures”.

Cost pressures overall will raise from £8.4m to £20m.

The rising bills make an already difficult budget look even worse for the years to come. The budget gap ahead of the councillors meeting next week to set the budget for 2023/24 is more than £14m, requiring cuts across almost all services in the local authority.

Council staff wrote in the report: “Inflation has been included in the 2023/24 budget estimates and in future year estimates where it is considered necessary to ensure budgets are adjusted to reflect expected increases in costs.”