Council prepares to bridge budget gap

Cardross, Helensburgh, Rhu, Garelochhead, the Rosneath Peninsula and Arrochar are now part of Argyll and Bute. Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Lizzie Healey

Argyll and Bute Council has a budget gap of £7.9 million to fill when it meets to set its budget on Thursday, February 21.

The Scottish Government’s funding allocation to the council means in effect another 1.6% reduction in funding for core services in 2019/20. This follows savings of £51 million over the past nine years.

morton_0Helensburgh representative, Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, pictured left, said: “It’s no longer enough to say that these are difficult times for councils. Years of savings are peeling away the support that councils can give their communities. More and more, councils must focus on delivering their statutory duties.

“Argyll and Bute, however, needs more than core services from its council. It needs support to build its economy and a successful future; local communities need local government services to support their family, business and community lives.

“Setting a responsible budget this year is about making decisions that support people as much as we can now, while also looking after the future of Argyll and Bute.”

Reports going to the Policy and Resources Committee on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, set out proposals for making savings and raising income.

MulvaneyCouncillor Gary Mulvaney, Depute Leader and Policy Lead for Strategic Finance, pictured right, said: “The harsh fact is that funding for our core services is being cut again with our like-for-like Scottish Government grant down £3.1m, leaving an unpalatable combination of service cuts and council tax rises to plug that gap.

“Decisions we made in previous years mean we have already put in place £2.4 million savings for 2019/20. However, more cuts to our core funding mean more tough choices about the work of the council. Our priority is to deliver as much value as possible from the reduced funding we have.”

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