THE financial squeeze on councils post-Covid will soon bite. Argyll and Bute Council is likely to face severe budget pressure from the Scottish Government. In tough times like these what can we look forward to from the council?

Will budget cuts equal service cuts? Or are there other ways protect the delivery of our front line council services – social services, planning, public health, refuse collection, amenity services, transport and others? Can we fight off budget cuts through efficiency savings and eliminating waste?

It has been reported this week that Argyll and Bute Council is to join forces with West Dunbartonshire Council for the disposal of major rubbish from Helensburgh and Lomond. The two are also working together on a strategic waste partnership to turn long-term landfill into clean energy. This is the “shared services” approach and is good news.

It has been a long time coming, though. Back in 2010 Helensburgh Community Council sponsored a public meeting here in Helensburgh on the large financial and efficiency benefits from the shared service approach.

It was headlined by Sir John Arbuthnott, former Principal of Strathclyde University. Sir John had been asked by Glasgow Council and Councils in the Upper Clyde Valley to see what public services could be integrated to deliver greatly enhanced value for money. What united them was a joint determination only to cut services as the very last resort.

However, progress on shared services appears to have been slow since then. With 30 per cent of the population of the Argyll and Bute Council area, Helensburgh and Lomond, in reality, is part of Greater Glasgow.

For many council and other public services we need to look to councils there for opportunities to share services to deliver the budget cuts demanded of us.

Hopefully Argyll and Bute Council will see shared services as a key opportunity for making budget savings which do least damage to our public services and which protect the most vulnerable in our society – the young, the disadvantaged and the elderly.

Nigel Millar

Helensburgh Community Council

READ MORE: Councils strike deal over joint disposal of residual waste in Helensburgh and Lomond

* * * * * * * *

HAS anyone paid their respects to family members at the cemetery at Cardross Crematorium recently?

I am a regular visitor to my two late husbands and I am ashamed and appalled to see the state of the grass. It is covered in daisies, dandelions and buttercups; the grass is knee high in places in between gravestones; and there does not appear to have been any strimming done since the start of the growing season.

I believe only four cuts are now made per year due to cuts in the council’s budget. Well, hang your heads in shame, councillors, to allow such a mess where our loved ones lie.

I now have to take cutting shears and use them to tidy up the ground where my late husbands lie, and in my 80s this is no easy task.

Think again on your priorities, councillors. It is a disgrace that an area which is a memorial to many, many loved relatives is being allowed to get into in such a disgraceful state, and it shows a lack of respect to those who have gone before us.

I would respectfully suggest this be brought up at the next council meeting, and that councillors get their priorities in order to attend to this disgraceful mess.

Elizabeth Street

Via email

READ MORE: Argyll and Bute homeowners face highest council tax rates as proportion of salary

* * * * * * * *

I AM hoping readers of the Advertiser can help me trace someone who lived in the area almost half a century ago, or members of his family.

I would like to trace Mr Francis W.L. Blaikie, or members of his family. Mr Blaikie once lived at Ardentigh in Rhu; the last date I know he lived at this address would have been around 1975, but I do not know where he may have lived after that.

Mr Blaikie’s father was Dr J.B. Blaikie, who wrote a book called I Go a-Fishing. His son then wrote a follow-up called We Go a-Fishing.

As the titles of those books suggest, Mr Blaikie is, or was, a well known fly fisherman, and it is for this reason that I would like to track him down, or find out more information about him.

If any readers of the Advertiser can put me on the trail of Mr Blaikie – or, by now, most likely one of his relatives – I would be very grateful to hear from you. If you can help, please contact the Advertiser and they will pass your details on.

Ivan Farrow

Via email

READ MORE: Bid to bring historic Helensburgh visitors' book back to town

* * * * * * * *

IT was striking to note figures from accountancy firm EY highlighting that in 2020 Scotland was the most attractive location outside London for foreign direct investment (FDI), accounting to 11 per cent of UK projects, up from 9 per cent in 2019.

EY reported 107 FDI projects in Scotland in 2020, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year. That contrasts with declines in investment of 12 per cent for the UK as a whole and 13 per cent across Europe. The survey ranked Edinburgh as the UK’s top city outside London for FDI.

Scotland’s impressive performance came in the face of the global pandemic and opinion poll after opinion poll showing a majority of those in Scotland would support independence, putting pay to the myth that independence will ‘frighten off’ investors.

Scotland is bucking the investment trends, highlighted by Scottish Enterprise as being down to the quality of our workforce, a competitive cost base, world-class universities and a supportive business environment.

While “Project Fear” is alive and well with many who oppose independence, it is simply not borne out by the facts.

Alex Orr

Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

READ MORE: Opinion - 'Colleges in Scotland urgently need government plan to bridge funds gap'

* * * * * * * *

THIS year’s Volunteers’ Week, which ended on June 7, was markedly different from others, but the message was still as pertinent; to celebrate and recognise the impact of volunteers.

As the country’s largest end of life charity, Marie Curie has more than 1,500 volunteers in communities across Scotland, They can boast of combined service of 10,300 years, spread across fund-raising, caring services, retail and project and support roles.

Just one hour of time from each of those volunteers adds up to a value of more than £155,000 a year - and of course many give much more than one hour. And that time is so valuable to terminally ill people, and to the families who benefit from Marie Curie volunteers’ support.

Like many organisations in the third sector, some of our volunteer roles have either been put on hold or switched to virtual support over the last 12 months.

This has been a difficult adjustment as we know that for many who volunteer - with the aim of helping others - a significant consequence is that their own wellbeing is maintained and improved.

We’d like to take the time to thank all of our volunteers for many ways they continued to support; by staying home, showing enormous patience and resilience in the face of changing guidance, supporting virtually or adapting to changes in their roles – every single action taken by our volunteers has helped us enormously.

As we slowly emerge from the gloomy depths of the last 15 months, we look forward to being able to bring back many volunteers and thank them all for their heart, patience and time.

Dawn Fisher

Volunteering business partner, Marie Curie

READ MORE: The latest news and views from your area here

* * * * * * * *

READERS of the Advertiser may be aware that this week is Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring and to recognise the contribution of carers across the UK.

At Lymphoma Action, we have a host of resources available to support people who may be caring for someone with a diagnosis of lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

Living with lymphoma can be demanding, physically, practically and emotionally – not only for the person who’s been diagnosed, but for family members and friends too.

Readers may be interested in our upcoming webinar, Supporting You – a webinar for families, friends and carers.

Taking place at 6pm on June 24, this free session aims to recognise the physical, practical and emotional impact on supporting a loved one living with lymphoma, share experiences of some of these issues and learn about some self-care strategies that might be useful.

We have a dedicated section for people caring for someone with lymphoma on our website, a freephone helpline (0808 808 5555), we have recently extended our online support groups, we have a Lymphoma Voices podcast, and we have published a book, ‘When someone close to you has lymphoma’.

For further details on our services and our work, see

Amanda Harris

Lymphoma Action

* * * * * * * *

To have your say on any topic of local interest, just email your opinions to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this site.

Please remember to include your name and address, and to try and keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.