New savings targets for Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute Council's headquarters in Lochgilphead.

Argyll and Bute Council's headquarters in Lochgilphead.

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Savings targets at Argyll and Bute Council for the next three financial years have been revised downwards - but the cuts required to local services are still likely to be substantial.

A special meeting of the authority’s policy and resources committee on Monday was told that the latest savings target is between £21.7 million and £26 million - reduced from an initial prediction last year of between £28.1m and £37.5m.

That means savings of £9 million will be required in each of the next two financial years.

Councillors will spend the rest of this summer considering recommendations for where cuts can be made under the ‘Service Choices’ programme, with decisions on which options will go to consultation being made in October.

Councillor Dick Walsh, leader of the council, explained: “Achieving the significant level of savings that we must will impact on our employees and on the work we are able to do for our communities. We are focused clearly therefore on delivering enough savings, but no more than enough.

“A lot of work has been done to identify options to explore in making savings. We have identified more potential options than the Council will need to take.

“We have created time and opportunity therefore to consider how best to make savings in relation to this revised budgetary outlook. The Service Choices process allows flexibility for that.

“The focus is on ensuring that we reach the best decisions possible for our communities, our employees and the work of the council in supporting future prosperity for Argyll and Bute.”