ARGYLL and Bute Council has published its budget proposals on Thursday 24 January – three weeks ahead of its budget decision meeting on 14 February.
In October last year, councillors agreed to take a new approach to the budget process – looking at the council’s financial position over seven years.
A detailed budget for 2013/14 has been prepared, as well as summary budgets for 2014/15 and 2015/16. These, along with high level forecasts for 2016/17 to 2019/20, set out an average savings gap of £5.8 million each year. The longer-term approach allows for better management of the difficult and challenging circumstances in which Argyll and Bute, along with other Scottish local authorities, finds itself.
Councillors have discussed the budget proposals with political group leaders, staff and trade unions over the past week prior to the publication of the papers on Thursday 24 January.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Finance, James Robb, said: “The new approach to the budget process has been widely welcomed for its transparency and because it provides a clearer picture of the challenges that we face in the longer term.
“In October the council agreed that savings options of £5.8 million should be developed, and the proposals in the budget pack meet this requirement.
“They do include some difficult choices, but we would be failing as a council if we simply chose to keep pushing the problems into the future.”
Feedback from the council’s budget consultation will still play a part, added Councillor Robb: “There is the possibility of changes to these proposals as a result of the various consultations but only on the basis that an equivalent saving will have to be found.
“The budget is now very much a process rather than an event and work has already started for future years. This includes service reviews and redesigns and very difficult decisions on whether some discretionary services that we provide are sustainable.
“Our focus continues on delivering the services that the residents of Argyll and Bute require in a sustainable manner.”
A link to the budget proposal pack is featured above and also on the budget consultation section on this website.
People in Argyll and Bute can have their say on the budget proposals in various ways. There is information on the council’s website at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/budgetconsultation2013 - including a budget simulator to help you see the types of decisions that have to be made. Information about the budget is also available in public libraries and council officers. You can write to us at Budget Consultation 2013, Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT or email firstname.lastname@example.org