‘Reform’ councillors publish alternative Argyll and Bute budget

The opposition 'Reform Group' on Argyll and Bute Council has published an alternative set of budget proposals for the area.

The opposition 'Reform Group' on Argyll and Bute Council has published an alternative set of budget proposals for the area.

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A group of opposition councillors in Argyll and Bute have published an alternative set of budget proposals for the area - well before the ruling administration’s own plans are announced.

Michael Breslin, Vivien Dance and Bruce Marshall - collectively known as the ‘Reform Group’ - have put forward a radical plan which they say will save a total of £10.3 million in 2016-17.

Their proposals include decentralising as much of the council’s work as possible to its four administrative areas, including Bute and Cowal, and cutting unnecessary travel by making much more use of video-conferencing technology.

You can view the plans in detail by clicking here; however, it’s worth bearing in mind that the group’s minority status on the council - they comprise only three of its 36 elected members - makes it highly unlikely their proposals will be accepted in full at the authority’s budget meeting next month.

Mr Breslin said: “Council officers have still to make some final comments on technical aspects of our budget but we release this now because the broad thrust of our proposals will not alter even if some elements of it do.

“It is also released now to allow anyone reading it to make comment on it as there is time to amend it before the council meeting on 11 February where the council budget will be agreed.

“The council’s Service Choices process is widely accepted as being flawed. Audit Scotland criticised it in their recent Best Value report but the council administration’s budget proposals will be based on that flawed and visionless process.

“Our view is that their proposals will be damaging to our area.”

The ruling administration of independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors is expected to make its spending plans public on January 29, a week ahead of a meeting of the authority’s policy and resources committee.

That committee’s recommendations will then go forward to the full council’s budget meeting on February 11.