THE co-leader of Aberdeen City Council (ACC) is pleading with the Scottish Government to give the financially-stricken authority more funds ahead of further cost-cutting operations.
The council is staring down the barrel of a £35m black hole in 2024/25, just a year after cuts worth more than £46m.
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And they won’t be able to increase council tax – possibly saving millions – after Humza Yousaf announced a nationwide freeze on the charge during the SNP conference in October, though Cosla expect that to be fully-funded by government.
Now, Christian Allard is pleading to his bosses in Holyrood to help balance the city’s books.
The former MSP told the P&J: “Inflation is still too high and cost of living has hit us a lot more this year. It proved impossible last year to balance the books.
“We are pleading to both governments to make sure we can balance the books.
“We welcome the council tax freeze because it’s the right thing to do but it needs to be fully funded.”
Allard’s council co-leader Ian Yuill added: “Our priority is to ensure Aberdeen City Council gets fully funded for the council tax freeze and that the budget settlement allows us to provide the services on which people depend.”
Katie Hagmann, Cosla’s resources spokeswoman, warns that without improvements in council funding, “tough choices” could mean essential services local authorities provide “will cease”.
“Sadly, our reality right now is an extremely challenging financial climate coupled with years of real-terms cuts to council budgets, while additional policy commitments are continually being introduced,” she said
“If this situation doesn’t start to improve soon, it will mean tough choices being made and the many essential services councils provide will cease – services that not only address problems on the ground, but actively prevent bigger issues occurring down the line.”
She said Cosla had been ‘clear that cutting staff isn’t the answer’ and without ‘adequate and sustainable funding’ councils will not be able to help tackle poverty, support efforts towards net zero or provide ‘sustainable public services’.