Finances under pressure

last week’s financial announcement from the Scottish Government is largely in line with expectations, according to Aberdeenshire Council.

Last year the council set a two-year budget and began delivering a programme of significant budget reductions to ensure it was in a strong position to respond to the financial challenges ahead.

The announcement from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney MSP is broadly in line with expectations and is reflected in the long term planning of the council.

Aberdeenshire Council set a two-year budget in 2011/12 where it assumed a cash reduction of £12.5 million in 2012/13.

Pressure will be maintained across all services as they strive to deliver the challenging programme of savings agreed last year.

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Anne Robertson said: “Last year Aberdeenshire Council made difficult decisions about the financial challenges facing us and set a two-year budget taking into account the on-going financial pressures. The announcement largely reflects our thinking and I am confident that we are in a good position to manage the on-going reductions to our budgets.

“Having said that, the announcement takes no account of inflationary pressures or the increasing demand being placed on council services, linked to a growing and ageing population. There is no room for complacency, as it is likely that council finances will be under pressure for some time.”

The council will need to consider a potential further freeze on council tax, implications for increased pension contributions and the impact of welfare reforms.