Draft 2012/13 to 2014/15 budget papers published

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Published Date: 

27 Jan 2012 - 09:37

Argyll and Bute Council’s draft budget pack for 2012/13 to 2014/15 has now been published.

The papers - which will be discussed by the executive next Thursday (February 2) before going to the full council for decision on February 16 - are available here.  

Included in the pack are reports on the corporate and service plans and budget consultation, the revenue budget and the capital budget.

In terms of the revenue budget, the total funding allocated to Argyll and Bute by the Scottish Government for the next three years is estimated at £224.174m in 2012/13, £222.092m for 2013/14 and £220.332m for 2014/15. This compares to £221.592m in the current year. 

In addition to this funding, the council also collects council tax income. No increase has been factored in to the council tax rate for 2012/13 or 2013/14, which currently stands at £1,178 per band D equivalent.

Agreeing to a council tax freeze is a condition of the Scottish Government’s funding allocation for Argyll and Bute. For budgetary purposes, the council tax income for the next three years has been estimated at £45.05m a year.

This year’s service reviews propose savings of £1.803m for 2012/13, £2.756m for 2013/14 and £3.645m for 2014/15. Most of these relate to management and operational efficiencies.

In addition, the package of revenue savings agreed last year will continue to deliver savings over the next three years. These amount to £4.621m in 2012/13, £5.104m in 2013/14 and £5.104m in 2014/15.

It is also proposed to increase the council’s fees and charges by 3% each year for the next three years.

Council leader Councillor Dick Walsh said: “We decided last year that, given the scale of the financial challenge we face, we would adopt a strategic, three-year approach to setting our budget.

“The next financial year represents year two of this approach, and our budget proposals show that we can continue making the necessary savings while at the same time protecting our frontline services.

“Our prudent approach to financial management and our decision last year to scrutinise our spending up until March 2015 – along with our comprehensive ongoing programme of service reviews and organisational change - has meant that we are in the best possible position to meet the financial hurdles we will continue to encounter in the coming years.

“Argyll and Bute’s residents and communities should not underestimate the scale of the ongoing challenges which all local authorities face.  However, they can be assured that we will not let up in our efforts to explore every avenue in our bid to improve the efficiency of our organisation so as to shield those services which people care about the most from the effects of the financial squeeze.

“In preparation for drawing up this budget we carried out one of the most comprehensive public consultation exercises we’ve ever done in a bid to engage with the widest possible cross section of the Argyll and Bute community.

“We now have the task of agreeing how best to take account of what people have said they would like us to safeguard and invest in, while at the same time identifying the necessary savings.”

In terms of capital spend for the next three years, the grant funding from the Scottish Government will be £9.656m for 2012/13, £8.907m for 2013/14 and £13.278m for 2014/15. When supplemented by borrowing, the total investment over the three years will be some £83m.

The council has several ongoing capital commitments – foremost among them its flagship CHORD town centre regeneration programme, where planned investment over the next three years is £21m. The total CHORD investment amounts to £31m.

Among the other areas likely to benefit from significant capital spend over the next three years are roads and amenity services, education, social work, affordable housing and culture and leisure.

Councillor Walsh said: “In looking at our capital investment, we need to strike a balance between ensuring assets are available for service delivery and creating a platform for economic, social and community well-being and development.

“We are determined that the decisions we take regarding capital expenditure will be those which best support our corporate objectives of working together to improve the potential of our people, our communities, our area and our organisation.

“Proposed capital projects are assessed based on a business case approach using the criteria of impact, affordability, deliverability and risk.

“As a council, we need to continue to ensure that we create the conditions and infrastructure to support economic development and regeneration, that housing stock is sufficient to support economic development, that we have the leisure, culture and sports facilities to attract residents and visitors to our area, that our towns are attractive places to live in and visit and that our transport infrastructure allows access throughout Argyll and Bute in a safe and convenient way.”

The budget papers will be considered by the council’s executive on Thursday, February 2 before going to a full council meeting on Thursday, February 16 for debate and final decision.