In his latest column, Councillor Gary Mulvaney writes about Argyll and Bute Council's finances and the local authority's plans for Helensburgh's waterfront.


In my last column, I raised the astonishing proposition from the SNP and extremist Greens to increase council tax massively for Bands E to H properties.

It's great news that they have abandoned that proposal in addition to freezing next year’s council tax.

Whilst both moves are welcome for taxpayers, there is no clarity for councils as to how that freeze will be funded. Will local councils be fully compensated, or will be there another smoke and mirrors act? 

In Argyll and Bute, work continues on next year’s budget and an updated position was presented to the recent Budget Working Group showing a gap of £4.7million next year - rising to £23m in 2028-29. Options are being considered how to bridge this gap.


An updated report on the Helensburgh waterfront development was provided at the last area committee, which advised on the outcome of the public engagement exercise and provided a summary of the proposals that have been shortlisted for progression to the next stage of the process.

Letters have been issued to those on the shortlist, inviting full financial offers to be submitted by December 6. Thereafter the bids will be assessed using the scoring matrix agreed by the area committee.

In respect of the long-term location for the town's skate park, an assessment of each of the potential sites is under way – including Hermitage Park, East Bay Park, Kidston Park, and Iona Stables at Colgrain.

A range of factors require to be assessed as part of this process, including ownership/title conditions, planning issues, access/parking, flooding, environmental/noise concerns and the cost of development. A further update report will be prepared for the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee in due course.

A Roaming Story

By the time you read this, the SNP health minister may have done the only right thing and resigned.

Having dumped the blame on his kids, he continues to wriggle and squirm and, like most scandals, it is the cover-up and lies that can deliver the fatal blow.

If anyone of us had received a bill for £11,000 for roaming charges we would have done several things after the shock. Find out when the charges were incurred; remember what we were doing then; spoke to our spouse and any children to try and get to the bottom of it.

It surely stretches the bounds of credibility that the minister did not do any of this, recalling that he was on holiday and he or his kids had enabled his iPad to watch football.

Alternatively, if you are an SNP minister, you try your luck, say you were working and charge it to parliamentary expenses. If caught out lying, blame the kids and cry. Truly despicable.