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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

£86k council funding cut for Argyll and Bute charities 


Savings options identified last month suggest third sector services will take a hit

Charities and voluntary groups in Argyll and Bute could see tens of thousands of pounds cut from their council funding as a part of a raft of cost-cutting measures put forward by the local authority. 

A report written by council officials in the local authority warned that some services may be forced to close as a result of the funding cut. 

The paper, which outlines a total of £470,000 additional savings that could be found by removing a number of services, suggests the removal of “funding to support parent and toddler groups and other non statutory third sector”.

The proposals were considered by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee, who are due to meet on 16 February to discuss the matter further, before the council’s final budget is voted on by councillors on 23 February. 

The report adds: “This will remove grant funding used to support running costs for a number of third sector groups across all localities.

“None of these groups deliver statutory services for education but do support children, young people and families.

“The non-statutory groups and organisations may not be in a position to continue or may have to reduce services.”

The cuts would range from £1,000 per organisations to as much as £20,000, senior council officials have admitted

The Helensburgh Advertiser reported in January that councillors had raised concerns about the plans and the knock-on effect this could have on other services, with the council’s executive director Douglas Hendry admitting that the removal of grants could be viewed as a threat by some organisations.

He told the Argyll and Bute Policy and Resources Committee: “There is a possibility that some of these organisations will feel that the savings option renders a threat to their continued operation.

“But in overall terms, it has been put forward on the basis that it is not statutory. It is something the council has done.

“Officers recognise that while that is the case, this is one that could be particularly sensitive. It is over to members on that basis to decide whether to accept the savings.”

Takki Sulaiman, chief executive of Argyll and Bute TSI, responded: "We appreciate that notification of reduced grant settlements from Whitehall and Holyrood to both the local council and HSCP has been very late this year, but we all knew a recession was looming post lockdown and post Brexit. The war in Ukraine, the political turmoil and the cost of living crisis should have been further cause for urgency. That meant a considered public engagement exercise should have been held many months ago to identify which services the public wished to prioritise and how to protect vulnerable people and services by redesigning the way we all work."

"Whilst the total cash savings that are proposed for the third sector may seem small the impact has not been assessed or discussed with the grantees (ie the parent and toddler groups) and it will be too late to propose alternatives following the council meeting on 23rd February 2023.  My fear is that the cash value of the savings proposed will be far outstripped by the loss of social value to our communities and to our local economy."

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute Council said: “We are in what has been described as the most difficult budget setting context for years. In Argyll and Bute our estimated budget gap is more than £12.2 million in 2023-24 alone, and more than £54.5 million in 2023-2028. This means that we have to focus on saving the services we have a duty to deliver. Budget decisions will be made on 23rd February. In the meantime the council continues to make the case for more funding.

Charities face a fraught time as councils across Scotland look to make savings while setting their budgets. TFN has revealed that Midlothian Council is looking at a 100% cut to grant funding - read more here - and that Edinburgh's voluntary sector faces major cuts. You can also read about the situation in North Lanarkshire here.



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