Council’s budget gap expected to increase

The Scottish Government funding allocation for local government could increase Argyll and Bute Council’s funding gap for 2019/20 to around £9million.

This was the update provided to today’s Policy and Resources Committee, following the Scottish Government budget announcement yesterday.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Strategic Finance, explained: “The harsh fact is that the funding allocated to local government means another cut to the council’s core funding of around 2.5%.

"Although the Scottish Government has said it will give more money overall to councils, this increase is to fund new commitments. To be clear, funding for our core services is being cut again.

"For Argyll and Bute this increases our estimated funding gap for next year to £9million. This would be a considerable amount at any time, but coming after years of funding cuts already, it will demand particularly difficult decisions to be made.

"We expect to have more details about how much funding Argyll and Bute will get early next week. Once we know that, and have clarity on any conditions attached to our funding allocation, we will know more definitely what we are dealing with in terms of savings we need to make next year.”

Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, added: “This local government budget is extremely disappointing for the council, our residents and communities. The Scottish Government provides around 80% of councils’ funding so another 2.5% reduction will have significant impact. It means we must focus on what we as a council have a duty to deliver, and reduce the work we do that’s additional to that.

"We have to consider unfortunately even those services that are valued, if they are not a statutory requirement.

"Our priority will be as always to make the best possible use of whatever level of funding we receive, We must set our budget in February 2019. Public feedback, to our recent consultation, will play a key part in helping us reach the right budget decisions.”

Councils are expected to find out early next week what their individual budget allocations are.

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