THE area’s SNP group has expressed its regret over the cuts to youth and adult learning services, which were confirmed as part of the 2019/20 budget last week.

Councillor Sandy Taylor, the party’s Argyll and Bute group leader, put forward an amendment to the administration’s budget which would have kept the service at its previous level, along with music tuition, environmental wardens and the council’s road safety unit.

However, it received only 10 votes, all from the party’s own councillors, as the admin budget prevailed with 21 votes. The motion and amendments did all agree on retaining school crossing patrollers, but the SNP group has pledged to continue to look to help the council reduce its costs.

READ MORE: Pupils protest at learning services cuts plan.

Councillor Taylor said: “All councils are struggling with the continuing cuts in public spending budgets at this time, no less so Argyll and Bute.

“Although not an easy decision, the group’s budget benefitted from the extra resources from raising the council tax to its maximum level of 4.79 per cent which meant that our budget could maintain these valued services in the face of the proposed cuts.”

Deputy group leader Councillor Lorna Douglas added: “The Tory /Lib Dem led council administration budget was voted through, making a huge cut to youth and adult learning services with a loss of 17 jobs.

“They also made cuts to music tuition, trading standards, environmental wardens and the closure of the road safety unit. The SNP budget was balanced and competent and protected all these jobs and services.”

A spokesperson for the party added: “Looking to the future, we have more to do to address projected budget shortfalls in the next two years.

“The SNP council group will continue to look for ways the council can reduce its costs and become more efficient, and to deliver services differently whilst continuing to prioritise frontline services and support for those who most need it.”

READ MORE: School patrols saved as Argyll and Bute Council sets its budget.

Meanwhile, two other amendments to the administration budget were also put forward at the meeting.

Councillor Douglas Philand and Councillor Donald Kelly put forward an amendment on behalf of Argyll First, while Councillor George Freeman’s amendment was backed by Councillor Jean Moffat. Both of those also wanted to avoid the cuts to youth and adult learning services and music tuition, and the closure of the road safety unit.

Councillor Philand said: “If you have been to one of the musical extravaganza events , you will see the benefits that music tuition gives to young people.”

Councillor Freeman said: “These are young people who we should be investing in.”