BARRHEAD’S local authority will begin charging higher fees for dozens of services in an effort to close funding gaps.

East Renfrewshire Council (ERC) has approved plans for rises across the board, affecting everything from school meals to home care for the elderly.

However, the majority of the rises were said to be in-line with current rates of inflation, resulting in a hike of just 2.8 per cent in many cases.

The largest rises will come through the area’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) which oversees care of the elderly and disabled in Barrhead.

The report, delivered by Julie Murray, HSCP chief officer, said: “We have a further £60,000 saving to achieve in 2017/18. We are taking end to end service reviews of all staffing, skills mix, processes and systems that support our service delivery to redesign these to support more streamlined ways of working, targeting resources and supporting community-led support.”

The need to make the savings boils down to an increase in care at home costs from £13.10 to £13.50 per hour.

Charges for meals on wheels and lunch clubs will also go up from £3.70 and £4.20 respectively to £3.80 and £4.30, resulting in an additional £2,200 in available income for the HSCP.

In total, £12,850 in savings are being made by the charges, with the remaining £50,000 in saving coming from existing balances for the HSCP.

School meals will retain their current charges, with the exception of primary school cold lunches being brought up to the same price as a secondary school hot lunch. ERC says this is to reflect the inclusion of an extra item in the meal.

It will also now be more expensive to bury loved ones when they die.

Previously, burial charges in the area had been some of the cheapest throughout Scotland. However ERC has decided to raise the charge to meet the national average.

The previous cost of weekday burials will rise from £500 for residents and £1,500 for non-residents to £680 and £1,540 – and on weekends and public holidays the cost will rise to an eye-watering £1,180 and £1,865.

However there will now be no charge to bury children under the age of 16 in East Renfrewshire.

The council is attempting to make savings of almost £20 million by 2020.