ARGYLL AND BUTE: Budget cash will support popular events

By Lucy Ashton

“Our priority as always is on making whatever funding we have deliver as much as possible for Argyll and Bute.”

These were the words of Councillor Robin Currie, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, as the council prepares to set its budget next week.

The council’s funding gap is more than £13 million in 2023/24 alone. This is in addition to the £70  million of recurring savings the council has had to make since 2010.

Council leader Robin Currie (left) and Cllr Gary Mulvaney.

The council’s financial position was on the agenda when the Policy and Resources Committee met today.

Councillor Currie said:  “The council will continue to provide countless services that support day to day life across Argyll and Bute.

“Multi-million pound funding cuts over many years however stop us doing everything we’d like to do for our communities. We have to focus on saving the services we have a duty to deliver.”

The Committee considered a report setting out the demands on the council’s budget and additional options for fully bridging the funding gap, including stopping some services.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Finance Services said:  “We have done everything we can to save services – we have developed around £9 million of savings options that avoid impact on services for the public.

“With no end in sight however to cuts to council budgets, change, to what the council can do, is unavoidable.”

Funding to support a wide range of popular cultural events and festivals in Argyll and Bute has been approved by the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

A total of 11 events across the arts, culture and sport will receive support totalling more than £80,000 from Round 5 of the Council’s Strategic Events and Festivals Fund (SEF).

The full list of events being supported includes:

  • Argyll Food Festival
  • Bute Noir
  • Helensburgh Festive Lighting Charitable Trust
  • Highlands & Islands Music & Dance Festival
  • Jura Music Festival
  • Sea Change
  • Sound of Gigha
  • Mull of Kintyre Music and Arts Festival
  • Tiree Wave Classic
  • Cowal Highland Gathering
  • West Highland Yachting Week

Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for Strategic Development, said: “The events sector makes a significant contribution to Argyll and Bute’s economy and to local communities across the region. It also plays a key role in helping attract both national and international visitors to the area. The importance of events and festivals can be seen from the fact that, prior to the pandemic, the estimated economic impact to the area was around £7.5 million.

“The sector is continuing to rebuild following the pandemic and it’s great to see so many well-established and highly popular events taking place again in the coming year thanks to support from the fund.

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