Council budget consultation launched in Argyll and Bute
CONTROVERSIAL budget cuts that have caused huge concern within Argyll’s rural communities have now been put out to the public for debate.
The much-heralded budget consultation on £18 million-worth of savings in Argyll and Bute was launched this week by the local authority.
To meet the demands of decreasing local government grant funding, the council faces an estimated shortfall of up to £26 million.
The local authority has set itself a savings target of around £9 million in both 2016/17 and 2017/18 with further savings in future years.
The local authority has already dismissed plans to in- crease the council tax, and lose out on government funding for doing so.
The consultation, published on Friday, wants views on 140 options for saving cash.
The leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Dick Walsh said: ‘We would like to do all that our communities want their council to do for them, but drastically reduced funding means that this just is not possible.
‘We must make savings. At the same time we must also continue investing in building a prosperous future for Argyll and Bute.
‘We need therefore to make choices about the work we do. We need to identify what is most important now, and for our future prosperity. We need to decide how we can make best use of the resources we have.
‘The council has an excellent track record in achieving savings.
‘Over the past six years we have delivered £ 32 million in savings and recently agreed a further £1 million that can be made without impact on policy, number of jobs or communities.
‘In addition we have been taking steps to identify options for growing income or making savings through innovation.
‘ We will continue to provide a broad range of services. We will continue to be a major employer and we will continue to work with our partners in building prosperity.
‘Delivering the level of savings we must now achieve though means change. It means that there are no easy choices to make.
‘We would like to reach decisions and plan our future together with our communities, employees and partners, which is what this consultation is about.
‘We would encourage as many people as possible to respond and tell us what matters most to them.’
The consultation is available on-line at www.argyll-bute.gov. uk/planningourfuture and will run until the end of December.