The council also created a new £7 million Priorities Investment Fund to support the longer term future of Argyll and Bute.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Robin Currie said:
“We are investing in what we know really matters to people in Argyll and Bute. We are investing in services that support day-to-day life right now, and that support Argyll and Bute’s long term success.
None of this has been easy. Local government continues to be crucial but crushed by the unrelenting need for multi-million pound savings. It’s through effective financial management, and listening to what our communities tell us they need, that we have succeeded today in setting a responsible and progressive budget.”
To achieve this, and bridge its funding gap of £13 million, the council drew on ‘service concession’ arrangements to free up funding by spreading the repayment of new schools over 60 rather than 25/30 years. It also increased council tax by 5%.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Finance Services said:
“Today’s decisions mean that we continue to deliver services that benefit everyone in Argyll and Bute in some way. And we save at-risk support that we know people care about, including school crossing patrollers, customer service points and early years funding for parents and toddler groups. This budget as far as possible overcomes huge financial challenge to keep jobs and council services in our communities.”
Investments of more than £38 million agreed today include:
- Roads and infrastructure
- An extra £8 million to bring the total for road repair and maintenance over the next two years to £16 million
- £480,000 on new fleet for road maintenance
- £750,000 for footpath improvements
- £8 million to future proof Argyll and Bute’s schools
- £640,000 to develop the school estate’s climate change measures
- Waste and Recycling Services
- £3.5 million to help Argyll and Bute comply with the national biodegradable municipal waste ban.
- £700,000 to order new refuse vehicles
Investing in the future
- £6 million+ contribution to securing the future of Rothesay Pavilion as a driver for the island’s economic growth
- The council will freeze ferry fares on its ferry services (Jura, Cuan, Lismore, Easdale) until 31st March 2024; and there will be no increase to school meal charges in 2023/24.
Council tax for a dwelling in Band “D” will now be £1,479.20
You can read the budget reports on the council’s website.
- Endorsed the new management/operational savings totalling £2.962m outlined in Appendix 5 of the Revenue Budget Overview Report.
- Rejected the following policy savings options, in full or in part, totalling £319.5k in 2023/24:
- EDU2324-003 – Funding for parent/toddler groups/other non-statutory third sector
- CSS2324-001 – Customer Engagement Team
- RIS2324-001 – School Crossing Patrollers, while agreeing that all SCP posts vacant for one year or more are deleted (saving of £60k)
- DEG2324-002 – Funding contribution to Argyll and the Isles Countryside Trust (ACT)
- Accepted all other policy savings options totalling £6.144m.
For more detail on the £38 million investment in Argyll and Bute’s priorities see below.
|Supporting Delivery of Priorities for Argyll and Bute – delivering a vision for Argyll and Bute, our people, our success and our future|
|£7m||Priorities Investment Fund||Safeguarding future investment in Priorities for Argyll and Bute by making long-term use of service concession gain to establish dedicated fund to lever in, secure and support key strategic investments in this year and future years.|
|£2m||Capital Projects Inflation Pressures||Boosting resilience of Capital Programme and providing added support as required for key capital/infrastructure projects.|
Priorities: Education – Learning Estate, now and in the future
Partnership and Action – contributing to tackling climate change
|£8m||Learning Estate Investment Strategy||Signalling council’s commitment to working in partnership to secure new schools for Argyll and Bute, through substantial investment to support future-proofing of Argyll and Bute’s schools estate.|
|£640k||Climate Change||Continuing our track record of investing in climate change with funding to further enhance school estate climate change measures, with allocations for primary and secondary schools across the area in Campbeltown, Dunoon, Helensburgh, Lochgilphead, Oban and Rothesay.|
Priorities: Potential and Growth – investing in the future.
Partnership and action – everyone has a part to play in Argyll and Bute’s future success.
Building on previous commitments to securing a future for this building of international, national and local significance with additional contribution to the overall funding target which requires collective action; helping project to progress towards success with funding that supports completion of certain work stages and securing wind/watertight status.
Priorities: Infrastructure, Waste and Recycling Services
Partnership and Action – playing our part in tackling climate change
|£3.5m||Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) Ban||Ensuring Argyll and Bute is able to better address the challenges faced by a remote/rural/ island region in complying with the forthcoming national BMW ban.|
|£700k||New refuse collection vehicles||Enhancing waste and recycling uplift arrangements through placing orders for new refuse vehicles.|
|Priority: Roads and Infrastructure – roads and pathways|
|£3.797m||Extra Capital Funding for Roads||Allocating more capital funding in for roads repair and maintenance programme as part of overall £8m total investment for 2023/24.|
|£4.588m||Roads Investment to Capital||Augmenting overall allocation for roads repair and maintenance programme with additional funds to bring up to £8m total investment for 2024/25.|
|£750k||Footpath improvements||Providing additional funding for footpath improvements across Argyll and Bute.|
|£250k||New jet patcher vehicle||Complementing multi-million pound capital investment in roads repair and maintenance with new jet patcher order to support delivery of programme.|
|£230k||New road marking vehicle||Completing suite of investments in new fleet procurement, to support delivery of roads repair and maintenance programme, with order for additional road marking vehicle.|
|Priority: Potential and growth – making assets work now|
|£531k||ICT computer replacement||Supporting the council’s digital resilience and overall efficiency with investment in ICT assets.|