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Argyll council tax goes up by 3% as spending on roads and public toilets increases

Council Leader Robin Currie.
Council Leader Robin Currie.

A council tax increase of 3% for residents in Argyll and Bute will mean that more money can be spent on roads and public toilets.

The local authority agreed to the hike when it set its budget for next financial year today.

Councillors were being forced to consider a funding gap of £2.2 million in 2022-23, with estimated gaps of more than £30 million in the three years after that.

Council leader Robin Currie said: “We listen to our communities. This budget invests in what people tell us matters most to them.

“We are increasing investment in our road network again. We are investing in services that support responsible tourism, such as litter bins and public toilets.

“We are supporting local businesses by investing in the staycation economy, and encouraging ‘shopping local’ with free Christmas parking.

“We are dedicating one of our biggest, single investments to our schools and wider learning estate; and we are investing in action to tackle climate change.

“These investments support services that matter to local communities now, within a budget that looks ahead to meeting future financial challenges.”

Fees and charges

The decision to increase council tax took account of support available to reduce the  impact on families: a Scottish Government £150 rebate for Bands A-D and Whole Family Wellbeing Fund for people most in need.

Fees and charges were also increased by 3%.

Roads, schools, bins and public toilets will all benefit from a £5.4m investment in this budget.

The money is being split over four themes.

“Keeping Argyll and Bute Connected,” will see £3.15m increase investment in roads reconstruction to £8m in 2022-23.

Christmas parking

“Investing in our places,” includes £537,000 for street lighting, more litter bins, keeping public toilets open all year round, free parking at Christmas, and developing staycation benefits.

“Safeguarding our future,” is another £1m in schools and the wider learning estate strategy, and £500,000 in climate change initiatives.

“Supporting growth in partnership” sees £165,000 spent on for tourism, culture and youth development initiatives.

The majority of the council’s budget continues to go to supporting young people and caring for vulnerable residents, through education services and the Health and Social Care Partnership.

Significant pressures

Representations will be made to the Scottish Government about the challenging circumstances the council faces in relation to capital infrastructure needs.

A decision was taken to call for proportionate capital funding to help meet significant pressures.

Depute leader Gary Mulvaney said: “With nearly £60m of savings made over the past 10 years, and estimates of another £30m to come, there are demands on councils that are increasingly beyond the means of councils.

“Today, through our effective financial planning, there is some positive news, in the investments we can make in the services local people value most.”

Council tax for a dwelling in Band D will now be £1,408.76.

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