Leader responds to Budget

Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton.
Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton.

Argyll and Bute Council’s leader insists that the authority must continue to work towards making savings after the Westminster Budget announcement.

Councillor Aileen Morton also recognised that Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget last week made public services a priority.

It came after the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) issued a statement ahead of the parliamentary announcement saying that essential services could come under threat.

Councillor Morton said: “The fine detail of the Westminster Budget still needs to be worked through to get absolute clarity on the scale of commitment for some issues.

“Overall the Budget does highlight spending on public services as a priority, with a number of measures seemingly aimed at supporting local government.

“I’d hope that the Scottish Government will reflect this when it finalises its own Budget and determines the allocation for local government in Scotland.

“However, these are such challenging financial times for local government that this Budget announcement certainly doesn’t remove the need for us to continue working to identify potential savings.”

The Scottish Government’s finance secretary Derek Mackay is due to announce the Scottish budget for 2019-20 at Holyrood on Wednesday, December 12.

In a statement reproduced on Argyll and Bute Council’s website last month, COSLA had urged fair funding for Scottish local government.

Gail McGregor, COSLA’s resources spokesperson, said: “Through delivery of essential services – children’s services, housing, transport, social care, environmental protection, and more – local government is the life blood of Scotland.”