While no one likes taking tough decisions which can affect the lives of many of the constituents that we represent, councils have a legal responsibility to deliver a balanced budget each year.

This is becoming more difficult in each passing year as funding to local authorities is reducing year on year.

Indeed, over the last 10 years the council has delivered more than £57 million in efficiencies and savings, and mid-range estimates this year indicate that further savings of £9.2 million may need to be identified for the financial year 2020/21.

Over a number of years the council have conducted a consultation to gather public opinion on the services which are priorities for them, and this has been vital in shaping the way the council delivers the many services it provides.

READ MORE: Argyll and Bute facing £9m savings target for next financial year

While some of the services provided are statutory, the need to make savings increases on the non-statutory service,s and as with other years, this year’s consultation document provides you with the opportunity to give your opinion on some of the savings being considered.

This year’s consultation only has a few days to run so if you wish to submit your views you can do so until Monday, December 16 at argyll-bute.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2019

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In my last column I advised of an upcoming consultation on the proposed Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2) and the process which has taken us to that point.

This is a process which commenced shortly after our current Local Development Plan was adopted in March 2015, and has involved engagement with communities, developers, key agencies, interested groups and other stakeholders.

The proposed plan is a suite of policies and proposals which applies to the whole of Argyll and Bute – with the exception of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority who prepare their own Development Plan.

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These are aimed at supporting the delivery of new homes, creating new employment opportunities and protecting our natural and built environment for the next 10 years as well as a vision for the next 20 years.

The consultation, which allows you to leave your views on the aspects of the proposed LDP2 you object to or support, started on November 14, and is due to run until 12 noon on January 23.

You can view all the details of the development plan and take part in the consultation at argyll-bute.gov.uk/consultations/proposed-local-development-plan-2

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here