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Home News The News Argyll and Bute Council budget passed

Argyll and Bute Council budget passed

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Council tax bills in Argyll and Bute will go up by 4.5 per cent in April – but some of the authority’s most controversial cost-cutting plans will not be going ahead.


School crossing patrollers, pupil support assistants and educational psychologists have all been spared the axe after spending plans put forward by the authority’s ruling Liberal Democrat, Conservative and independent administration were voted through.


But spending on community-based learning activities for young people and adults will be cut by £184,000, and schools will no longer have the funding to hire local halls for PE lessons after funding of £73,000 for that purpose was cut entirely.


The administration also decided not to go ahead with all of a proposal to make savings by closing public toilets.


The administration’s spending plans, and council tax increase, were backed by 18 of the 31 councillors who attended the authority’s annual budget meeting in Lochgilphead on Thursday, February 27.


The agreed budget also includes investment in roads maintenance, footway and cycle path maintenance, and education involving digital learning.


An amended budget put forward by the opposition SNP group, which got 11 votes, wanted to save the community learning development, PE facilities and public conveniences in full.


A second amendment, proposed by Councillor George Freeman and seconded by Councillor Douglas Philand, asked that the meeting be adjourned in order to consider prospective further funding announced by the Scottish Government the previous day.


Addressing the meeting, council leader Aileen Morton said: “This is the third budget in the life of this council and takes place in unusual circumstances.


“Some savings choices have been in front of us before, and this current budget is harder due to familiarity. We have heard the same story again and again – cuts to budgets across the country are hitting Argyll and Bute harder than almost every other area.


“We are looking to the future and supporting a broader curriculum across our schools, and economic growth and connectivity supporting our businesses, which are vital to our future.


“One council service needing a large contribution is waste disposal, and if we can deliver our solutions, we could reduce CO2 emissions by around 19 per cent.


“Our decision is not just for today, or this year, but it will affect next year and the years to come.


“We share a belief that Argyll and Bute deserves a bright future, despite the challenges.


“It is important that, preferably together, we keep fighting, striving for and believing in Argyll and Bute, so that in the future, the story in this chamber will be the positive one it deserves.”


Depute leader Gary Mulvaney added: “None of these decisions have been taken in isolation; all have been deliberated over in the context of what is to come in the next few years.


“It is easy to leave it all to another day, but that heads-in-the-sand approach only leads to more pain for the future. We have a budget that focuses on the future as well as today.”

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