Budget planning will be on the agenda when the council’s Policy and Resources Committee meets next week.
Councillors will consider reports that set out the scale of financial challenge, and work being done to prepare for the council setting its budget in February next year.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Financial Services said:
“As a large rural and island area, it is costlier for us than many other councils to provide services across the area. We also provide a wider range of services than other councils, such as ferries. At the same time we want to attract people here and create jobs so we invest in non-statutory services like economic development. The fact that Argyll and Bute in recent years has seen one of the largest cuts in council funding in Scotland highlights the huge challenge that we need to face together.”
Current estimates show that Argyll and Bute’s council has to identify options to meet a budget gap of more than £6 million in 2021/2022.
Savings can only come from a relatively small proportion of the council’s budget (32%), because of national priorities and other factors outside council control:
Teacher posts are protected nationally
Social work costs are managed by the Health and Social Care Partnership
Loan charges and other costs depend on external factors.
As set out in a report to the Policy and Resources Committee, the council is taking a three-step approach to identifying savings:
Detailed reviews on a themed basis for budgets that are classified as controllable. The themes are working digitally, amenity, leisure, fleet and transport services.
Identify 2% efficiencies across all service areas
Review of areas of non-controllable budgets where there may be an opportunity to realise some savings, for example reducing utility costs.
You can read the reports on the council’s website.
Source of reference to the council having had one of the highest funding cuts: SPICE Local government Finance: Facts and Figures 2013-14 to 2019-20. Local government funding per head, real terms change 2013-14 to 2019-20. You can read more on the Scottish Parliament website.