More budget detail required, says Mid Argyll councillor

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Two new measures have been identified which could help meet an anticipated budget gap next year of £9.2 million at Argyll and Bute Council.

But there is frustration among councillors at a perceived lack of information about the latest proposed savings measures as departments continue to look for savings.

Initial proposals were published in October ahead of final budget decisions expected in late February.

Mid Argyll councillor Sandy Taylor was left frustrated at the latest meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee. At the December 17 meeting he said: ‘I am dismayed that we find ourselves in this position and still don’t have any detail coming forward from officers in relation to policy savings.

‘We knew in October that we had a shortfall, notwithstanding the uncertainty surrounding ferry services.

‘Why are we not finding out what people are working on? Are there more savings to come?’

The council’s head of financial services Kirsty Flanagan replied: ‘We are about to conduct a review of loan charges, and that will give us savings, should members wish to take that up. That is one area which could bridge the gap.

Ms Flanagan continued: ‘In the last couple of weeks we have also looked at the fleet [of vehicles]. There should be a saving there that was identified after I pulled together this report.

‘So there are a couple of savings options which are not being reported at the moment. I will have the opportunity to report them at our members’ seminar on January 27.’

Councillor Taylor responded: ‘I am lost for words that I should find this out today.’

Speaking to the Argyllshire Advertiser following the meeting, Councillor Taylor said: ‘It is not clear as yet, if the size of saving available would allow us to revisit some of the less acceptable savings offered up to members to date.’

More detail on some of these proposed ‘less acceptable savings’ in next week’s Argyllshire Advertiser.