Coun­cil lob­bies to site wel­fare agency in Ar­gyll

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

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