“We must keep fighting for Argyll and Bute. Everyone who cares about Argyll and Bute must continue striving for the successful future it deserves and can achieve.”
These were the words of Argyll and Bute Council’s Leader on the day the Council set its budget for 2020/21. Councillor Aileen Morton said:
“The budget we set today supports our young people, economic growth and the environment on which we all depend. We have protected key support services for young people. We are investing millions of pounds to help keep our road network open for business, and we are funding initiatives to protect our climate.
We have listened to the views of our communities, to support people now, and look after the future of Argyll and Bute. This, in the circumstances, is the responsible budget for Argyll and Bute.
We want to do more but our geography means we deliver some services most other councils do not, and all our services tend to cost more to deliver. At the same time Argyll and Bute received a higher than average cut to our funding.
Our on-going work, to raise the challenges we face in Argyll and Bute is starting to make a difference. We recently secured nearly £1 million additional funding to help deliver our ferry services but there is still much more to be done.
We must all, in whatever way we can, continue to stand up for Argyll and Bute.”
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Depute Leader and Policy Lead for Financial Services and Major Projects, sounded a word of warning about future demand on council budgets:
“Demand for council services will continue to exceed council budgets. Managing this means action not only from the council, but also from our partners and key decision-makers.
Argyll and Bute’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) supports some of our most vulnerable people. We have therefore allocated more than £60 million pounds, a quarter of the total council budget, to the HSCP, and agreed more time for it to repay debts to the council. This scale of council support cannot continue indefinitely; the HSCP needs to increase its pace of change.
The Biodegradable Municipal Waste ban, that all councils must achieve, will mean another potential £5 million of running costs every single year, as well as one-off spending of £2million-£4million. We have gone part way to address this challenge by allocating funding for strategic change projects but this national initiative, which everyone rightly endorses, requires national funding. This will be the council’s next funding campaign for Argyll and Bute.
Local government funding must allow for councils to address local challenges and local priorities.”
Note to Editor:
Argyll and Bute’s council budget was cut by higher than the Scottish average
Appendix 1: Key decisions made by the Council
Appendix 1: Key decisions made by the Council include:
Agreed: Additional £2.4 million investment in roads, crucial to community wellbeing and economic growth
Agreed: Additional £500,000 investment in roads maintenance and climate change mitigation works (particularly gully cleaning and drainage works)
Agreed: Additional £400,000 in green transport (for footway and cycle path maintenance, supporting the health and green agendas)
Agreed: Additional £500,000 in property capital to support shift from fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives across council offices and schools
Agreed: £50,000 in shared transport (additional funding to explore the redesign of public and school transport and the introduction of shared transport, to better meet needs of communities and reduce carbon emissions)
Agreed: Additional £400,000 in developing remote learning through digital learning opportunities
Agreed: £500,000 to replace the MV Lismore ferry
Agreed: £30,000 for Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC)
Agreed: £66,000 increase in contract with Kintyre Recycling Ltd
Agreed: £60,000 increase in contract with Fyne Futures
Agreed: Additional £750,000 for Rothesay Pavilion Charity to cover 2020/21 and 2021/22
Agreed: savings proposals listed here with the exception of those below
Rejected: proposal to reduce the Educational Psychology Service
Rejected: proposal to end swimming pool subsidies for Islay, Jura and Mid-Argyll
Rejected: proposal to remove pupil support assistant hours
Rejected: proposal to remove school crossing patrollers
Rejected: proposal to reduce advice services staff (welfare rights)
Rejected: proposal to increase parking charges
Rejected: proposal to close up to 25 public conveniences; agreed - charging for public toilets and making 10 low-use toilets available for community transfer, lease or sale.
Rejected: proposal to end grants to the Third Sector; funding to continue with reductions in the next two years.
Council tax will be increased by 4.5% seeing a Band D increase from £1,308.83 to £1,367.73