Roads, schools, bins, public toilets and the local economy – all benefit from investment in the budget set today by Argyll and Bute Council for 2022/23.
Council Leader, Councillor Robin Currie said:
“We listen to our communities. This budget invests in what people tell us matters most to them.
We are increasing investment in our road network again. We are investing in services that support responsible tourism, such as litter bins and public toilets. We are supporting local businesses by investing in the staycation economy, and encouraging ‘shopping local’ with free Christmas parking. We are dedicating one of our biggest, single investments to our schools and wider learning estate; and we are investing in action to tackle climate change.
These investments support services that matter to local communities now, within a budget that looks ahead to meeting future financial challenges.”
This overall £5.4 million investment will be split across four key themes:
- Keeping Argyll and Bute Connected: £3.153 million to increase investment in roads reconstruction to £8 million in 2022/23, and develop active travel improvements
- Investing in our places: £0.537 million for street lighting, more litter bins, keeping public toilets open all year round, free parking at Christmas, and developing staycation benefits.
- Safeguarding our future: another £1 million in schools and the wider learning estate strategy, and £0.5 million in climate change initiatives
- Supporting growth in partnership: £0.165 million for tourism, culture and youth development initiatives.
The majority of the Council’s budget continues to go to supporting young people and caring for vulnerable residents, through education services and the Health and Social Care Partnership.
The Council had to bridge a funding gap of £2.2 million in 2022/23, with estimated gaps of up to £30 million+ in the three years after that. Today’s decision to increase council tax by 3% took account of support available to reduce the impact on families: a Scottish Government £150 rebate for Bands A-D and Whole Family Wellbeing Fund for people most in need.
The Council will represent to the Scottish Government the challenging circumstances it faces in relation to capital infrastructure needs, and call for commensurate capital funding to help meet significant pressures.
Depute Leader, Councillor Gary Mulvaney said:
“With nearly £60 million of savings made over the past ten years, and estimates of another £30 million to come, there are demands on councils that are increasingly beyond the means of councils.
Today, through our effective financial planning, there is some positive news, in the investments we can make in the services local people value most.”
Council tax for a dwelling in Band “D” will now be £1,408.76.
Notes to editor
- The Council rejected savings option R104 – Burials and Cremations, totalling £80k
- The Council accepted all other policy savings options proposals, set out in Appendix 6 of the Revenue Budget Overview report, totalling £279.5k.
- The Council endorsed the management/operational savings, set out in Appendix 5 of the Revenue Budget Overview report, totalling £2.442m.
- You can read budget reports and appendices on the council’s website.
Further information on the Council’s £5.335 million investment in services
Keeping Argyll and Bute Connected - £3.153m
Continuing a multi-million pound investment programme over the life of this council by providing an additional £2.653m to maintain and improve Argyll and Bute’s rural, remote, island and urban roads network, to guarantee an overall Roads Reconstruction Budget of £8m for 2022/23.
An additional £0.5m for active travel, including further improvements for footpaths and pavements and supporting safer routes to schools across Argyll and Bute. Requests that officers bring forward a report setting out scheme proposals to the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee.
Investing in Our Places - £0.537m
£300k to deliver a programme of street lighting column replacement and improvement across Argyll and Bute, prioritised based on condition, with funding for at least 260 lighting columns.
Litter Bin Replacement Programme
£100k in Argyll and Bute’s litter bin replacement programme and infrastructure, providing almost 200 new/better bins across the area where required due to condition/need and with a focus on town centres and prominent locations, to support cleaner communities. Requests that officers explore options for use of new and innovative litter disposal solutions for future consideration.
Augments the 2021/22 £0.5m staycation initiative with an additional investment of £100k, including support for community groups and partners in the provision of facilities which can support increasing staycation visitor numbers during the 2022/23 season.
Seasonal public toilets
£17k to allow all seasonal public toilets to remain open all year round. These facilities are at Kilchattan Bay, Ulva, Ganavan, Crinan, Sandy Beach and Glenmorag. This means that, going forward, all public toilets will be open all year round.
Going forward, all off-street parking charges will be suspended across Argyll and Bute for the two-week period prior to Christmas Day, to encourage residents to support local shops in the lead-up to Christmas, noting that in 2022 this will be from 9th to 24th December inclusive.
Safeguarding Our Future - £1.5m
Learning Estate Investment Programme
£1m to help safeguard and support future funding for Argyll and Bute’s Learning Estate Investment Programme.
Climate Change Projects
Additional funding of £0.5m, building on previous £1.1m investments, for climate change, including projects within Argyll and Bute’s schools.
Supporting Growth in Partnership - £0.165m
Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative
In recognition of the importance of effective marketing of Argyll and Bute to maximise staycation opportunities and boost recovery and growth, funding for AITC to support future targeted/strategic activity as part of the overall focus on recovery; officers to engage with AITC to put in place a programme of regular evaluation and update reporting.
£75k for 2022/23 to support the organisation in delivering targeted support, in communities, to the culture, arts and heritage sector as part of its plans to contribute to overall economic recovery.
Our Isles and Oceans
£15k to assist the organisation in delivering a second round of sailing-focused youth development programmes based in Argyll and Bute.