Argyll and Bute was one of three councils to highlight, at Scottish Government level, the extreme pressures facing council budgets.
Kirsty Flanagan, Executive Director for the council, and Chair of Scotland’s Directors of Finance Group, gave evidence at the recent meeting of Holyrood's local government housing and planning committee.
Speaking after the meeting she said:
“There is a significant element of Scottish Government funding that is ring fenced or directed, and can only be spent on specific service areas. As costs increase, with no additional funding to pay for the increases, it means there are deeper budget cuts for other services. If we spend money on one thing, we don’t have it for something else.
“Local Government has been reforming services for many years to deliver savings and we are continuing to do so, but service reform can also increase costs by millions of pounds where we have to invest to reform.”
Giving evidence at committee is the latest step the council has taken to try to secure more funding for local government services. Council Leader, Councillor Robin Currie said:
“We all need and use council services. You may not always notice them, but they are there somewhere supporting your day-to-day life.
Councils are in what has been described as the most difficult budget setting context for years. We are taking every chance we can to stand up for Argyll and Bute and highlight the need for funding for council services.”
Argyll and Bute Council faces a budget gap of more than £12.2 million in 2023-24 alone, and of more than £54.5 million in 2023-2028.