Aberdeenshire Council budget set at ‘annual salami slicing fest’

Aberdeenshire Council have axed all school crossing patrollers

EDUCATION will feel the brunt of the Aberdeenshire Council budget as the local authority were forced to plug a £35.45m black hole.

The four-hour meeting ended with the administration’s proposed budget being agreed on 38 votes to 23.

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All school crossing patrollers will be removed, saving £430,000, while some janitor posts will be axed in a £195,000 saving.

The administration – made up of conservatives, liberal democrats and independents – also agreed to cut the equivalent of nine roles in speech and language therapy contracts will will affect more than 6,000 children across the authority.

Plans for new primary schools in Fraserburgh and Stonehaven are to be “pushed back”, while catering staff will no longer have access to a free lunch, saving £30,000.

Meanwhile, free parking spaces in Banff, Fraserburgh, Inverurie and Turriff have been removed with charges added to them, while parking charges have increased by 30% elsewhere.

The council’s winter maintenance programme has been left untouched, while construction on the new £11.4m community facility in Ellon, housing council offices and the town’s library, will continue.

Work will also begin on the Macduff Marine Aquarium, while the authority agreed to press on with the Scottish Government’s 5% council tax freeze.

The cost-cutting budget was described as an “annual salami slicing fest” by an opposition councillor, while leader of the SNP group Gwyneth Petrie said the savings will be “detrimental” to pupils wellbeing.

Council leader Gillian Owen said the decisions were “incredibly difficult” but said they will “better serve all”.

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