With the May local authority elections on the near horizon, this was always going to be a goodie-bag budget as the troubled administration of Argyll and Bute Council uses the tools it controls in the cause of retention of political power.
However, goodie-bag budgets – this one covers a prospective period of three years, do not have to be, per se, bad budgets. The issue is the nature and duration of the benefit of the sweeties and the cost of the money to pay for it all – in borrowing and in choices not made.
Below are links to four evaluations of the budget Council Leader, Dick Walsh, presented on Thursday 16th February. They are from the three opposition groups and the opposition’s non-aligned elected member.
The authors of two of these evaluations – Argyll First and Councillor James Robb – voted to support the budget. The authors of the other two evaluations, Councilllor Robert Macintyre, leader of the SNP group and Councillor George Freeman, leader of the Argyll and Bute Independent Councillors group, voted against it.
The evaluations are given in alphabetical order of the name of the group or councillor whose views they represent.