Argyll and Bute ‘must save £6m a year for next seven years’

ARGYLL and Bute Council will need to save £6 million a year in each of the next seven years in order to balance its budget, the authority has admitted.

Council officers are to be asked to provide a seven-year view of their income and expenditure, backed up by annual reviews, in what is being described as “ a fresh approach to managing the local authority’s long term financial planning”.

Previously, budgets were balanced over a three year period.

A full update on the process will be given by the lead councillor for strategic finance, James Robb, at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, when approval will be sought for the new long-term approach.

Councillor Robb said: “The report before councillors highlights that around £6m of savings in each of the next seven years will be required to balance the budget and ensure the sustainability of the council’s financial planning.

“It is against this backdrop of essential savings that the council’s policy objectives for economic growth have to be delivered while protecting, as far as possible, essential services.”

The proposed approach, if approved, will be backed up by annual reviews of savings requirements, corporate and service plans. Opportunities will be provided for all councillors to contribute to the budget process.

Councillor Robb added: “We have to take a different approach and look at planning for the longer term.

“Like other local authorities, we will be faced with making some challenging decisions over the next few years. However, we have started the process of managing our business in a transparent, sustainable, predictable and robust manner, and this will help us to make the best possible choices within our limited resources for the people of Argyll and Bute.”