THE finance settlement given out by the Scottish Government to local authorities would have been much better spent on schools, nurseries and social care, according to Argyll and Bute Council's depute leader Gary Mulvaney...


AT the end of this month, the council will decide how to spend the £1.2 million allocation from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund it received as part of this year’s finance settlement.

This sweetie is part of the £50 million that Scotland’s finance secretary, 'Dalek' Mackay, found down the back of the sofa as he finished his budget homework.

Having made Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, he couldn’t get his figures to add up, and ended up with this “spare” £50m to distribute among all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

In my opinion, it would have been much better if that money could have been given to support things like schools, nurseries and social care, and done in an on-going sustainable manner – or, alternatively, used to reduce taxes.

But nonetheless, having got the money, I am keen that it is spent in both our urban and rural areas across Argyll and Bute.

In terms of priorities for spending some of this money in the Helensburgh and Lomond area, addressing some of the pedestrian access issues to Helensburgh pier and supporting communities on the Rosneath peninsula would be my preference.


READ MORE: Town centre fund 'should be spent on Helensburgh pier', says MSP


WATERFRONT: This £19.5 million project continues to make progress with tender documents having been issued to shortlisted suppliers in mid-May.

A deadline of mid-July has been sought for the return of tender documents. Thereafter officers will evaluate the submissions on technical and commercial grounds, prior to a recommendation to award a contract during September.

All going well, it is hoped that work will start on this multi-million-pound project in early November.


READ MORE: Community council hits back over waterfront blame claim


SOCIAL CARE: The council’s finance officers are continuing to finalise Argyll and Bute’s year-end accounts for 2018/19, and it should be noted that there was a significant overall overspend for the council as a consequence of overspends in our integrated social care and health services.

That risk continues into the budget for the current financial year. That risk and challenge is not unique to Argyll and Bute Council, but is widespread across Scotland and the UK.

READ MORE: Health and care board 'to repay less than half' of £7m overspend

How we manage the increasing demand for health and social care services with an ever-growing and ageing population is a fundamental challenge of our times – and whatever the political incumbency, a sustainable long term solution needs to be found.