Argyll & Bute Council leader welcomes call for fair local government funding

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The leader of Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed a campaign by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), for fair funding for local government.

Councillor Aileen Morton, said: “People across Argyll and Bute will be only too aware of the impact years of funding cuts are having on their council services. Schools, road maintenance, bin collections, social care, building standards - these and more essential, everyday services depend on council funding.

“Years of making savings and changing how we work to deal with funding cuts makes finding more savings tougher and tougher. Easy choices have all been made. There are only difficult decisions left. Maintaining council services means maintaining council funding. I’m sure local people would recognise the importance of their local services and back the Scottish Government providing the necessary funding.”

COSLA negotiates local government funding settlements with the Scottish Government on behalf of Scotland’s councils.

Ahead of the budget negotiation period, COSLA this week launched a briefing document entitled Fair Funding for Essential Services 2019/20 which outlines the central role that local government plays in both the local and Scottish economy.

This document highlights that in the last five years local government budgets have reduced 10 times more than the Scottish budget.

The council’s funding will not be confirmed by the Scottish Government until the end of the year, or early 2019. As it must set its budget in February 2019, the council is asking local people what their priorities are for the work and role of the council, so that these priorities can influence budget decisions.

Mid range forecasts indicate that the council will have a funding shortfall of £7.8 million in 2019/20, and while the council is already taking steps to address this, there is still a need to find further savings of £3.7 million.

Council Leader, Councillor Aileen Morton, said: “Thank you to everyone who has already taken time to give their views. The consultation is still open and it would be great to hear from as many more people as possible so that we can include local communities’ priorities in the decisions we will make in February.

“Having public input will help us make the best possible use of whatever funding we have.”

The council’s consultation is available on its website at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2018. If you would prefer a printed copy, you can find these in council customer service points or by contacting the council at workingtogether@argyll-bute.gov.uk / 01546 604171.