Aberdeenshire Council defers budget decision

Budget proposals were debated at the full council meeting
Budget proposals were debated at the full council meeting

Aberdeenshire Council has delayed a decision on its budget.

Councillors are to await a final financial settlement position from the Scottish Government before a balanced revenue budget for 2019/20 is revealed in February next year.

The local authority is facing a £20 million deficit when the level of pay award, ongoing pension contributions and the review of base budgets is considered.

Its ruling administration said a key factor in determining the budget lay with the unknown level of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) which forms part of the Scottish Government’s settlement and provides more than half of the council’s income.

But members of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat-led Administration were challenged to get their MSPs to fully engage in the Holyrood budget process if they are serious about securing more resources for North-east local government.

The main opposition SNP/Labour and Communities Group set out proposals on how to reduce a forecast budget gap of £20m to just over £12m, while still maintaining jobs and frontline services.

Meanwhile, in its proposed savings, the Democratic Independent and Green Group suggested a three per cent increase on council tax would net the council just under £4m, while a partial roads maintenance holiday would raise a further £5.4m to offset the deficit.

The full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday heard that for 2019/20 it is expected that a one-year announcement will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in mid-December.

While the Partnership’s budget amendment triumphed over the Democratic Independent and Green Group amendment, the council voted by 42-24 in favour of deferring the medium-term budget until February, with two abstentions.