white cut out letters hanging from strings spelling out Budget

CEX Update: service-saving budget set

Councillors today set the council’s budget for next year. Its focus is on saving council services.

The council faced a £10 million budget gap for running services, and a gap of nearly £30 million pounds in the capital budget for infrastructure. After years of making multi-million pound savings, and given the demands for council support, this was obviously an extremely challenging budget to balance.

Councillors achieved its service-saving budget through various decisions taken today and previously. These include raising income by doubling council tax on second homes, reducing the management fee the council pays Live Argyll to deliver leisure services, and by removing 2.5 vacant posts from Governance services.

They also increased council tax by 10%. The Scottish Government had announced a council tax freeze. However the overall funding settlement available to Argyll and Bute Council, including funding for a freeze, would not have been enough to balance the budget and save council services.

We heard late yesterday that the Scottish Government intends to give more money to local government, subject the UK Government’s Spring Budget. We understand that this might mean another £1.1 million for Argyll and Bute. While additional funding would obviously be welcome, it cannot be guaranteed or relied upon until after the Spring Budget. Councillors will consider how to use an additional funding when the council has it.

You can read more about today’s decisions on the website.

Producing the information, proposals and ideas needed for the Council to balance its budget has been a considerable task, and required a lot of work by many people in different services.

To everyone involved I would like to say thank you – it’s been a huge team effort.

I will update you again when the position with additional funding is confirmed, and as always, if you have any questions, you are welcome to get in touch with me at workingtogether@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Pippa

Pippa Milne

Chief Executive