Best budget pledge from new leader

Councillor Robin Currie.

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The new leader of Argyll and Bute Council has pledged that the area’s elected councillors will work together to put together the best budget for local people for the next financial year.

Councillor Robin Currie also pledged to continue to drive forward the key priorities of the council after his appointment to the post.

The long-serving Kintyre and the Islands councillor, who has been on the council since its inception in 1996, spoke of his pride at being named as leader, and praised the people of Argyll and Bute for their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Currie said: ‘I’m passionate about Argyll and Bute, and representing my community as a councillor, and now as council leader, is and always has been a huge privilege.

‘Argyll and Bute has a lot to be proud of and so much to offer. You only need to look at how our communities have responded and rallied round each other during the Covid-19 pandemic to see what a great place this is to live.

‘The council agreed priorities in September 2017, after the administration worked as a team to develop these following the local government elections that year.

‘We will continue to drive those priorities forward. Like all Scottish councils, we will need to do so in a very challenging financial context – funding is an ever-present challenge even before the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are taken into account.

‘Our overarching aim remains securing a bright future for Argyll and Bute by growing our population and our economy. That underpins everything we do.

‘We will approach this budget process as we always do – working as a team to try to secure the best results for local people.

‘There are challenges and uncertainty but I prefer to tackle those from a positive and optimistic place. After more than 30 years serving our communities my passion and love for the area is stronger than ever and I will do all that I can to see it thrive and flourish.’

The first draft of savings options for the 2021/22 budget is expected to be revealed at a meeting of the authority’s policy and resources committee, of which Councillor Currie is now chair, today, Thursday, October 15.

Councillor Currie also paid tribute to Councillor Aileen Morton, whose tenure as leader ended after three years when she stood down last month.

He added: ‘Aileen has delivered a tremendous amount for Argyll and Bute and I’m very pleased that she is still with us as a hard-working and committed local councillor in Helensburgh.

‘During her time as leader she has achieved so much and has been relentless in pushing for good results for Argyll and Bute at all levels.’