Council estimates £33 million budget gap over next five years

Estimates show that there will be £33 million less for council services in Argyll and Bute over the next five years, with the council having to make another £2.5 million of savings in 2022/23 alone.

Council has agreed its approach for identifying ways in which to meet these challenges. This will involve:

–          Setting up a cross-party budget working group (BWG), with six councillors from the administration, three from the opposition, and two Trade Union representatives. The BWG will not have a decision-making role but could make recommendations to the Council or the Policy and Resources Committee.

–          Progressing the themed approach, based on developing savings options across groups of services, which identified savings for last year as well as potential future options:

  • Digital by Default – through greater digital working
  • Amenity Services – through service transformation
  • Fleet – through reviewing fleet management processes
  • Property – through managing the Council’s property portfolio
  • Transportation – through developing actions identified as part of last year’s review process
  • Modernising Education – through transforming the delivery of education
  • Energy – through reducing the Council’s utility costs.

–          Adding a new theme for this year –assess benefits of a shared service approach with the HSCP (Health and Social Care Partnership) to catering and cleaning

–          Assessing options for delivering savings across other council services

Policy Lead for Financial Services, Councillor Gary Mulvaney, said:

“More than £53 million has already been taken out of Argyll and Bute’s council services over the past 10 years, and the need to make millions more in savings goes on. Decisions we’ve made in previous years will soften the impact a little this year, but the scale of funding gap we’re facing, means more change to what we do and how we do it.”

The council’s funding settlement from the Scottish Government makes up the majority of funding for local council services. The council expects to find out what this is in December2021/January 2022, and will have to set its budget for next year in February 2022.

The budget approach was agreed at the recent Council meeting

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