Council ‘rising to challenge’ of huge spending cuts

Spending cuts which will reduce many services by 20% have been defended as ‘a strategy to meet key needs’ by Argyll and Bute Council.

Dick Walsh: Strategy 'meets key needs'
Dick Walsh: Strategy ‘meets key needs’

A total of £37.5m will be cut over the next five years, most of it between 2016 and 2018.

As revealed here, widespread job losses are inevitable and will affect children, the elderly and the disabled.

A meeting in Lochgilphead on Thursday agreed that savings on a long list of services would be agreed in June, then discussed in detail by councillors and unions before a consultation exercise starts in October.

After the meeting a council statement said the cuts were targeted to ensure the authority could still meet its single outcome agreement with the Scottish Government, which commits the council to creating jobs and reversing population decline.

Dick Walsh, the third person to act as leader of the council since 2012’s elections, said: “The current financial climate means that no council is able to do as much as it would like.

“However, what we can do is rise to the challenge and meet it head-on. Today is another step in delivering a strategy that meets key needs now and in the future.

“We are exploring initial savings targets, always considering the council’s priorities, the objectives of our Single Outcome Agreement and, of course, the best interests of everyone in Argyll and Bute.”

A PDF copy of the full list of services affected is here SERVICE CHOICES – some will only see cuts of 7% while a few are actually targeted for increased spending.

The services to be targeted for 20% cuts include:

  • Child protection
  • Music tuition
  • Street lighting
  • Piers harbours and ferries, youth services
  • Non-teaching costs in schools
  • Swimming pools
  • Services for addiction
  • Learning disability services
  • Community centres and halls
  • Mental health services