Council defends ‘fluctuating’ spending

Mid Argyll Independent Councillor Douglas Philand.

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Argyll and Bute Council’s spending on local contractors has been described as ‘healthy’ despite missing its target.

A report revealed that of the council contracts awarded between April and June, only 26.9 per cent of the net spend went to local contractors.

This was against a target of 35 per cent, prompting Mid Argyll Independent Councillor Douglas Philand to query the situation at a virtual meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee on Thursday, August 12.

Council executive director Douglas Hendry responded by saying that the spend was always likely to fluctuate, but that he felt the outlook was sufficient.

Councillor Philand said: ‘It says that there is a slight decrease due to the nature of the contracts – what does that mean?”

Mr Hendry replied: ‘As per the commentary, there is a decrease, but it also says that in overall terms, in the year to date local spend is pretty healthy.

‘There are 16 bids in from local contractors and 14 were awarded locally with a value of over £2million.

‘We have reported this for a number of years. As Councillor Philand has raised, it is one which does go up and down, but in terms of general performance I think things are pretty sound.

‘We can always do better, but these will fluctuate on an ongoing basis. Some contracts are ones which local organisations don’t have the expertise to come in on; others will have a fair bit of sub-contracting done locally.’