City council leaders slam government funding cuts as it warns of risk to jobs and services

Aberdeen City Council’s leaders have hit out at the Scottish Government for cutting the authority’s grant by nearly £60m, and warned that services and jobs are at risk.

The local authority’s co-leader Douglas Lumsden said that residents would now be worried about how savings would be made, as general funding for the next year is the lowest of any council outside Orkney and Shetland.

He said that CoSLA, the public, business leaders, and trade unions of Aberdeen must unite in condemning MSP Derek Mackay, the finance secretary of Scotland, for his handling of Aberdeen.

In the 2016-17 budget for Aberdeen City Council, it received by way of general revenue grant £117.5m— but in its budgets for 2019-20, the authority’s revenue grant has fallen to just £57m, which Lumsden says puts it at “real risk of seeing cuts to services.”

Cllr Lumsden, who is leader of the Conservative group, told BBC Scotland: “There is a risk we are going to have to look at services, there is a risk we have to look at jobs.

“We have got a no compulsory redundancy policy, and that will continue. But there is going to be some real difficult decisions ahead.”

He added: “Once again it's the north east in terms of our business rates that our local businesses are having to pay that's gone up considerably, and our grant fund is being reduced at the same time, so it's not good news for the city.”

Lumsden said Mackay had acted in the “most callous of manner” by preferring to divert money to local authorities in the central belt rather than help Aberdeen through its economic difficulties.

Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “It is clear from the financial settlement that Derek Mackay MSP and the SNP do not care about protecting public services in Aberdeen, otherwise our general revenue grant would not be reduced by over 50% in the last three years.

“Derek Mackay is certainly acting like Ebenezer Scrooge as he is a miser when it comes to providing Aberdeen City Council with a fair settlement.”

Back in February Aberdeen announced that 370 jobs were set to be cut from the council, and residents are now also facing a 3% council tax rise.

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Image credit: iStock images


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