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Working together for Argyll and Bute
In last week’s letters page you ran a version of the very long open letter addressed to me from the local SNP MP and MSP, a letter that they found the time to send to the press, but didn’t have the courtesy to send to me directly.
On the council, all councillors work well together – particularly when addressing the major challenges the council faces. Last year the SNP councillors supported the administration’s budget, this year there were only slight differences between the administration’s budget and the SNP’s one.
It would be great to see our MP and MSP work with the council to make the case to the Scottish Government for more money for Argyll and Bute. COSLA has made a very clear request of the Scottish Government in terms of funding for local councils next year – three per cent plus inflation. The choices facing the council would be substantially different if this was delivered and of course it’s the Scottish Cabinet, including our MSP, who actually make the decisions.
The fact is that over the past 10 years, the council has had to make savings of over £50million. That means real hardship for many local people – many jobs lost, many services withdrawn. That is the sad reality.
Like all councillors I’m sure, I would be happy to work with the local MP and MSP to make the case for more funding for Argyll and Bute.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council leader
Challenge the budget
Regarding council leader Aileen Morton’s comments in the edition of the Advertiser dated October 18 – why should the public tolerate more cuts to their services year on year if they are consistently paying their council tax and other taxes?
This seems unfair and should be challenged. Surely council leader Morton should be saying to the Scottish Government that the funding provided is not enough and we can’t make any more cuts.
Instead of a reduced budget, the council should be asking for an increased budget to operate services when you consider all the cutbacks to their budget over the past few years.
Perhaps if the situation was made clear to the Scottish Government by local councils that annual cuts to local authority services cannot be sustained, this situation will stop.
It is unfair on council staff too, with threats of cutbacks having a negative effect on their own jobs through no fault of their own. Adding more work to an employee already struggling with their workload causes more stress which is not good for staff or their employer.
Instead of accepting a reduced budget, please therefore can the budget be challenged and not accepted?
Peter Laing, Lochgilphead
Best-ever Mojo turnout
Being non-funded, Mojo Festival of Original Music relies on my own initial outlay and the kindly volunteering of the team to help achieve at least a small bonus for all the hard working and talented acts who put on a really good night at the event.
This year, even though we had more expenses, we had an even bigger attendance which meant we made roughly the same profit as last year (£785) to share out, giving the bands £131 each. Also the bands sold tickets along with their merchandise to give an extra £400 approx to the cause. We had a total of 174 people in attendance (plus two dogs) which is our best ever turnout.
The best part though was how much everyone enjoyed what was a night of some of the best original music Argyll has to offer – and you can’t put a price on that. Well done to all who were there and supported the whole event.
Dan and crew, Mojo organisers
Make our own medicines?
Among the many concerns caused by you-know-what is the very real fear that hospitals and high street pharmacies will run out of vital medical supplies which would normally arrive from factories in Malta, Hungary and Poland.
So why are generic medicines not made in Lochgilphead, in Campbeltown and in Rothesay? After all, calcium supplement tablets are made in Galashiels by a Japanese brewery company.
Glasgow Health Board built a brand new wee factory on the Western Infirmary/Glasgow University campus 50 years to manufacture some but not all of their requirements. Not only did this save a great deal of money but the board also earned considerable extra income by selling their products to other health boards, including Dumbarton and Argyll.
All in all, the costs of building and equipping the Hillhead factory proved to be a very sound investment indeed.
Duncan I Macdougall, Tarbert
I write following last week’s open letter by SNP politicians Mike Russell and Brendan O’Hara in which they attempted to evade responsibility for the budget problems facing Argyll and Bute Council.
These comments display extraordinary hypocrisy, revealing how out-of-touch these SNP politicians are with the realities of the challenges facing Argyll and Bute Council.
The financial pressures on this council are a direct consequence of the repeated unfair financial settlements imposed on the council by the SNP government over the last 12 years.
Brendan O’Hara should get on the phone to Nicola Sturgeon and demand a fair deal for Argyll and Bute instead of blaming everyone else.
Donald Cameron MSP, Highlands and Islands