Personal sacrifice praised by leader

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The response of Argyll and Bute to the Covid-19 pandemic has been praised by the leader of the council.

Councillor Robin Currie said the pandemic had affected everybody.

‘I wish to thank all council staff who have been working in partnership with our communities and volunteers, and agencies who have played a part in our response,’ he said.

‘Also to our communities and local businesses who have done what they can to adapt and survive. It causes a heavy burden and has meant personal sacrifice and loss for many and that must be recognised. Thank you for all that you have done. It is simply said, but it is deeply felt, and very sincerely meant.’

He spoke as the ruling administration set out their budget plans.

It saw council tax frozen, and savings options to reduce grass cutting and flower bed maintenance all scrapped. A package worth more than £6 million to improve ‘staycation and connectivity’ in Argyll and Bute was also agreed.

‘Our aim over the past few years has been to grow the population and economy to secure a better future, which our communities are working for and deserve. This has underpinned everything we do as we seek to overcome this challenge,’ said Councillor Currie, a Liberal Democrat.

‘We have analysed what we need to grow our population and economy, to bring more people to live, work and learn here, and enjoy vibrant, sustainable lives in this area which is so full of opportunities.’

Councillor Currie also hailed the recent signing of a £70m rural growth deal for the area.

The deal brings together £25m from each of the Scottish and UK Governments, and at least £20m from the council and various partners.

‘Argyll and Bute can, and should, have confidence in its future,’ he said. ‘We have recently received a significant vote of confidence in our area with the signing on February 11 of the heads of terms for the rural growth deal.

‘This is a £70million investment which the council has fought so hard to secure.’