Council seeks UK Government support in getting council funding to councils

Stack of coins with Funding etched into the side of the top one

The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council has written to the UK Government for support in ensuring that funding for councils reaches Argyll and Bute as well as other areas.

The Scottish Government Deputy First Minister has indicated that should £45 million of barnett consequentials funding flow from the UK Government as part of its Spring Budget, she will pass that on to Scottish local authorities. Argyll and Bute Council’s share would be expected to be around £800,000.

However she has also indicated that this funding would only be made available to councils that froze council tax, in line with the Scottish Government’s announcement of a freeze earlier this year.

Councillor Currie has written to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, for his assistance in ensuring, if this funding becomes available, that all councils receive it. He joins another two West of Scotland councils in seeking this support.

When it set its budget, Argyll and Bute Council was facing a £40 million budget gap – £10 million for running services day-to-day and £30 million for infrastructure such as bridges, roads, harbour investment, school and leisure buildings, and weather recovery work.

It increased council tax in order to save local services and jobs.

Council Leader, Councillor Robin Currie said:

“Communities need council services to live well locally. Council services need funding.

Increasing council tax was an extremely difficult decision to take but it was the one we had to take, to save vital services and jobs. The Scottish Government funding settlement available to the council on the basis of a council tax freeze would have meant cuts to services. Reducing the quality of life in Argyll and Bute by cutting vital council services would not only have affected people’s day-to-day lives but would also have been counter-productive to our urgent need to grow our population and economy.

The amount of additional funding potentially available would not be enough to remove the council tax increase but would provide welcome protection for services against budget gaps we know are coming in future years.

If more much needed funding becomes available, people in Argyll and Bute have a right to receive their share, and we are seeking the UK Government’s support in getting it.”

As well as the full range of council services, the council’s budget, including council tax, funds social care services, Live Argyll leisure services and provides financial support for additional tourism, regeneration, leisure and other initiatives. 

Notes

  • The council sets its budget on 22nd February, prior to the Scottish Government indicating that it would withhold funding from councils that did not freeze council tax.
  • The potential £45 million would come through the UK Barnett Consequentials, the funding additions given to the devolved administrations to reflect increases in public expenditure in England.
  • Argyll and Bute Council joins Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire in seeking UK Government support in getting this potential funding to all councils. 

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