Next step on road to Argyll and Bute service cuts

Amenity services is one of the Argyll and Bute Council departments which could see its budget cut by 20 per cent as the authority tries to bridge a funding gap of up to �37.5 million.
Amenity services is one of the Argyll and Bute Council departments which could see its budget cut by 20 per cent as the authority tries to bridge a funding gap of up to �37.5 million.

The leader of Argyll and Bute Council has warned that “no options are off the table” as the authority aims to make savings which are likely to lead to major cuts in services.

Councillor Dick Walsh was speaking after the first meeting of a ‘service choices’ project board, set up after a set of initial savings targets were agreed which suggest slashing many departments’ budgets by 20 per cent.

All of the council’s £244 million net revenue budget is under review, and exact levels of savings for each service will be set in June at a special meeting of the authority’s powerful policy and resources committee.

From there the project board will work together to produce detailed proposals for savings, though the council has promised that all councillors and members of the public will have the opportunity to give their views before final decisions are made on future service delivery.

Those detailed proposals will go to the policy and resources committee in October and, if approved, will then be considered by the full council later the same month.

The council will then seek the views of people and communities on these proposals through a consultation exercise.

Councillor Walsh, who also chairs the new project board, said: “The focus of board members is firmly on working together to identify the best options for our communities and the future of Argyll and Bute.

“There are various stages to work through before final decisions are made. At this point no options are off the table.

“It is a fact that no council can do as much for our communities as we would like to do. The service choices process is about looking at all areas of the council’s work, and identifying how we can best match resources to service delivery and future prosperity.”

The project board includes one of Bute’s three councillors in the shape of Provost Len Scoullar.