BCC anger at Argyll and Bute cuts plan

Bute Community Council's last meeting was held in Port Bannatyne's village hall on Wednesday, October 21.
Bute Community Council's last meeting was held in Port Bannatyne's village hall on Wednesday, October 21.

Members of Bute Community Council have blasted local authority officials and elected representatives for their handling of controversial savings plans.

Several BCC members hit out this week at Argyll and Bute Council’s approach to its ‘service choices’ programme, under which the authority has published 146 separate savings options - including the possible loss of more than three hundred full-time equivalent jobs - in a bid to bridge a predicted funding gap of between £21.7m and £26m.

Among the community councillors unhappy not just at the proposed cuts, but at the process itself, was Paul Duffy, who told BCC’s October meeting: “I haven’t seen a list of proposals - what I’ve seen is a list of cuts.

“There are a number of things missing from that document such as the council’s management of its property portfolio and the structure of the council. None of that seems to have been evaluated properly.”

Gordon Gillespie, a former council employee and trade union representative, said he believed the proposals had been published “far too early”, causing great and perhaps unnecessary distress to employees left fearing for their jobs and families worrying about the implications for their children.

Mike Blair, meanwhile, accused the council of a “divide and conquer” approach by effectively asking the public to rank proposed cuts in one council service area against those in another.

A consultation on the cuts suggested by council officials will go live on October 30 online, with hard copies of the paperwork available during the week beginning November 10.