Council leader sets out budget priorities

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Argyll and Bute Council leader, Councillor Aileen Morton, has set out the priorities she expects to see taken forward by the council at the Budget meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said: “One of the administration priorities agreed by council last September was to support individual and community wellbeing. So that’s why we will be looking to allocate some additional funding to this area, as well as rejecting the proposed £725,000 cut to social work services.

“We are agreed as an administration that this is absolutely the right thing to do, despite the lack of longer term budget commitment from the Scottish Government which does mean some risk to the council.

“We are also looking at wider priorities. The council’s capital plan has been a big focus for us as the funding allocated in 2018/19 just isn’t enough to meet our priorities, or the priorities local people have been talking to us about.

“While we have been looking at the whole capital plan, roads and ICT are the most obvious areas for us to consider as every single service the council delivers is dependent on those two areas.

“The council receives 115,000 emails a day, which is just one example of why we need to ensure we continue to offer an effective ICT system.

“As for Roads, the exceptionally poor condition of the main trunk roads maintained by Transport Scotland may be attracting a lot of attention at the moment but we are well aware that the council needs to do more too.

“That’s why we’ll be looking to allocate substantially more funding to these two areas as we finalise the administration’s budget proposals.”

Also speaking ahead of the budget meeting, Councillor Gary Mulvaney, depute leader of the council, added: “Like all councils we have to change the way we do things, given the scale of the financial challenges we face.

“I firmly believe that what people want is a financially responsible council taking sensible decisions, while still providing the best possible outcomes for communities with the money we have.

“That is absolutely what I expect the council to deliver on Thursday at the Budget meeting - a responsible budget for Argyll and Bute.”