“When everything matters, how do you decide what gets funding and what doesn’t?”
This is a question that I’ve been asked recently as the council prepares to balance its budget for next year.
Everything the council does matters in some way to life in Argyll and Bute. Budget limitations mean though that councils can’t do all that we want to do for communities.
Making budget decisions, about how to use the funding we have, is about a mix of things. It can be about looking at which services we have a duty to deliver or which are additional to that, or considering which changes would have most impact on communities. It’s about balancing what support local people need now and what will benefit them longer term. If funding from the Scottish Government is ring-fenced, it has to be spent on what supports national policy. And as it’s ultimately councillors who make budget decisions, local political priorities may come into play.
The first priority though is always to do what we can to protect services.
This brings me to the answer to another question I’ve been asked – “Why might there be a council tax increase when the Scottish Government announced a council tax freeze?”
Council tax plays a crucial part in balancing councils’ budgets. Scottish Government funding overall is only funding council tax increases to around 2.8% rather than the 5% or higher that councils had planned to support their budgets. Councils are considering council tax increases as a way to help keep council services running.
Argyll and Bute Council sets its budget on 22nd February. If you have any more questions about it, you are welcome to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Politics can obviously have an impact on our lives as a council, as well as more widely. This week is ‘Welcome to your vote week’ which encourages young people to register to vote so they can take part in elections. You can read more about that on our website, or find out more about registering to vote here.
Wishing you all a lovely weekend,