COUNCILLORS are due to decide this week on the next steps in planning for the future in Argyll and Bute, balancing the need to invest in a prosperous future while delivering essential services.
The council’s Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to agree a set of initial savings targets which will help to address the funding challenges faced by all Scottish local authorities.
The initial targets have been identified by the council’s Policy Leads to stimulate discussion and are based on the local authority’s priorities such as the objectives of the Single Outcome Agreement. This will let members develop options for further consideration.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Argyll and Bute Council Leader, Councillor Dick Walsh, reaffirmed that the local authority is continuing the careful and considered approach to its financial planning which started in 2014. At that point the council agreed its budget for the next two years, providing a period of stability to be used for strategic forward planning in preparation for the challenging times ahead.
Councillor Walsh said: “The priority for Argyll and Bute is clear – we need to attract more people and more jobs to the area, securing a prosperous future for everyone. Everyone has a part to play in this and the council is doing all that it can to work with others and achieve that goal.
“However, like all Scottish local authorities, we cannot always do as much as we would like and we cannot do it alone. For our part, we have to make very careful decisions and make sure that we balance investing in the future with delivering services now. That is why we are using this period of stability to plan carefully and strategically, meaning that any decisions taken are the right ones.
“We asked people for their views on the importance of council services in the first stage of the Planning our Future consultation earlier this year. As this continues, their feedback will be very useful to us. I would like to thank everyone who has taken part so far.
“Everyone is aware that all councils face significant challenges from 2016 onwards. However, Argyll and Bute Council has already demonstrated that whatever resource limitations we face, we can achieve progress and change where it is needed. This remains our focus and our intention as we move forward and plan for the best possible future for Argyll and Bute.”
The Policy and Resources Committee meets in Kilmory on Thursday 2nd April 2015 and the full report can be read here.