Council seeks public views on budget priorities for 2013-14

ARGYLL and Bute Council has launched its budget consultation and wants to hear what people think about its spending and saving priorities over the coming year.

The council is taking a long term approach to the budget process and has identified a need to save £6m each year for the next seven years.

This is equivalent to three per cent of the council’s spending on services like roads, education, social work or leisure.

As it moves towards its 2013/14 budget decision meeting in February, the council wants to listen to people’s views on what services should be prioritised or where spending could be reduced.

A new budget consultation document will be available from council offices around Argyll and Bute and online.

“This includes a detailed breakdown of what council services cost, a comparison with the Scottish average and some questions to consider in terms of services, spending and saving.

The council’s website will also feature a budget simulator where people can create their own ‘budget’ based on what services they think should be prioritised or reduced.

In addition, a dedicated email address has been set up for people to send their views and comments about the budget process.

Argyll and Bute Council leader Roddy McCuish wants to encourage people to get involved. He said: “Like other local authorities and public agencies, our resources will continue to be under pressure.

“However, the council has been successful in managing its budget and has saved £20m of costs annually over the past few years.

“Over the next seven years, we will need to reduce our current costs by £40m while at the same time continuing to seek out opportunities to improve our organisation and be more efficient.

“We are keen to hear what the people of Argyll and Bute think as we work towards our budget decisions, and I would encourage everyone to look at our budget consultation document or visit our website and have their say about the 2013/14 budget. “

There are a number of ways for you to have your say on Argyll and Bute Council’s 2013/14 budget. Pick up a copy of ‘Budget 2013/14 – have your say’ from local council offices. Write to us at Argyll and Bute Council Budget Consultation, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8RT. Email your views to budget@argyll-bute.gov.uk .

Find budget information at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/budgetconsultation2013 and watch out for details of web chats, web casts and our budget simulator.

You can also get involved through the Argyll and Bute Looking Local service on your smartphone, TV or games console (lookinglocal.gov.uk/argyllbute, Sky channel 539 or Virgin Media channel 233).

The 2013-14 budget will be the first set by the council’s new administration of SNP and independent councillors, which took control of the authority after May’s local elections.