Budget challenge for 2021 - 2022

Argyll and Bute’s council has to prepare to identify options to meet a projected budget gap of £6.7 million in 2021/2022.

Argyll and Bute’s council has to prepare to identify options to meet a projected budget gap of £6.7 million in 2021/2022.

This follows years of budget reductions which have led to more than £50 million of savings already taken out of the area’s council services.

National priorities and other factors outwith our control mean that we can take savings only from a small percentage of services and areas of expense.

These are shown below in the ‘controllable budget’ section.


We are doing all we can to protect services from cuts. We are looking for ways in which to raise income. We are changing how we work to cut costs and help make services sustainable; some areas of work included in the ‘controllable budget’ have statutory elements but allow some flexibility as to how we deliver them.

We still need to find more savings.

Unique challenges

With 23 inhabited islands, Argyll and Bute needs more from its council than many other areas, such as ferry and air services.

Argyll and Bute also needs its council to provide non-statutory services – councils do not need to provide economic development support, but the area needs the council’s help in attracting people and jobs to build a successful future.

In addition, with local communities spread across islands and Scotland’s second largest council area, it can be more expensive to deliver services in Argyll and Bute than in other areas.

However, Argyll and Bute has seen the third largest reduction in real terms in funding allocations from the Scottish Government since 2011/12. Since 2013 funding per head has reduced by £299 in real terms (against average of £160 across Scotland).

Source: SPICE Local government Finance: Facts and Figures 2013-14 to 2019-20. Local government funding per head, real terms change 2013-14 to 2019-20. You can read more on the Scottish Parliament website.

Budget setting process

The majority of our funding comes from the Scottish Government. We don’t expect to know how much Argyll and Bute will get for its council services next year until December/January 2021, but have to prepare savings now so that the council can set its budget in February 2021.

This year we are taking a themed approach to identifying savings. Council services are looking at whether we can make savings by working differently based on these themes: working digitally, amenity, leisure, fleet and transport services.

We will promote opportunities for you to get involved in identifying savings on our website, social media channels and weekly news round up.


We have asked members of the public to get involved twice with this year's budget planning process by giving views on the amenity and bus services surveys. Thank you to everyone who responded.

The budget planning report and appendices below give an update on progress in planning our budget, and potential savings options identified. 

Our news release explains why we have to consider all potential options at this stage.

If you would like a printed copy of the savings options and to give your views this way, contact planningourfuture@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Useful links

Budget planning report - Business Continuity Committe - 13 August 2020

£42 million funding gap for council

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