Council lobbies to site welfare agency in Argyll
ARGYLL and Bute has been put forward as a potential location for the Scottish Government’s new welfare delivery agency following devolution of social security powers through the Scotland Bill, writes Katie Carabine.
Council Leader, Dick Walsh wrote to Deputy First Minister John Swinney earlier this year after reading about the proposal for the new agency to deliver social security payments including support for carers and those with disabilities.
Councillor Walsh is now following this up by contacting all Argyll and Bute MSPs, asking for them to lend their support for Argyll and Bute as the location for the agency.
He said: ‘In Argyll and Bute we have numerous potential and ideal locations for the welfare delivery agency – all fitting the bill in terms of skills and training availability, good quality affordable housing provision, low cost property and business rates, very attractive lifestyle opportunities and much more.
‘Over the past several months we have been working positively with the Scottish Government to deliver the aspirations that we share for the people who already live, work and visit in Argyll and Bute, and to attract even more people to choose to come and live, work, learn and do business here.
‘That is crucial so that we can grow our population and our local economy, and secure a thriving, vibrant future for all our communities.’
He went on: ‘Argyll and Bute has considerable potential to deliver high- quality services of this nature at a national level and we are excited by the real benefits and immense opportunities for further development that this could bring, complimented by the council’s own investment in regeneration and economic growth.
‘As soon as we heard about the Scottish Government’s plans for this in March, we contacted Mr Swinney to put the case for locating the agency in Argyll and Bute. Since then, we have been working on further developing and refining this, and it is now the right time to seek the support of the constituency and list MSPs who represent our area.’
He added: ‘We are sure that they, too, will see the very real potential for transforming Argyll and Bute which would come from an agreement to site the welfare delivery agency in Argyll and Bute, and hope that we can count on support from as many MSPs as possible.
‘We are very encouraged by the positive response we have received so far, which reinforces that Argyll and Bute is the ideal location.’