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Millions of pounds will have to be cut from Argyll and Bute Council’s budget after its Scottish Government funding was slashed.
The area’s funding has been cut by more than the Scottish average and was slammed by Argyll and Bute council leader Aileen Morton.
The council will meet to set its impacted budget next Thursday, February 27.
Councillor Morton said obstacles have now been put in the way of growing Argyll and Bute’s economy at a time when it needs to attract more people and jobs.
Argyll and Bute’s capital budget for investment in roads, schools and other assets has been cut by 21 per cent, compared to the Scottish average of 17 per cent.
Its revenue budget for the day-to-day running of services has also been cut by 1.4 per cent compared to the Scottish average of one per cent.
Councillor Morton said: ‘Argyll and Bute deserves as much support and investment as other council areas. This level of cut will mean more impact on our day-to-day services. It also puts obstacles in place to growing the local economy at a time when Argyll and Bute needs to attract people and jobs to the area. This is unwelcome to say the least.’
Argyll and Bute covers the second largest area, and has the highest number of inhabited islands, of all Scotland’s councils making services more expensive to deliver. It also has to invest in air and ferry services.
Councillor Morton did, however, welcome news the Scottish Government is increasing its investment in ferry services by £1 million.
‘We have raised the importance of investment in ferry services in Argyll and Bute with the Scottish Government and welcome this increase as what must surely be support for this area.
The Scottish Government, via Transport Scotland, funds ferry services in other parts of Scotland. We have worked to secure similar support for Argyll and Bute to support our day to day costs and the replacement of the Lismore ferry. The fact the Scottish Government has increased its budget by that amount is a positive sign at this stage for Argyll and Bute. What we need now is formal confirmation of our allocation.’
Reports outlining the council’s budget outlook are being considered today (Thursday February 20) by the Policy and Resources Committee.