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Extra Aberdeenshire Council grant should help local buses and schools

By David Porter

Aberdeenshire councillors have welcomed the additional Scottish Government funding for their council, announced last week as a result of the budget deal with the Scottish Green Party.

Councillor Paul Johnson
Councillor Paul Johnson

Said Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) leader councillor Paul Johnston: “An additional £4.567 million of Government grant is obviously very, very welcome.

"It’s a significant help at a time when the council is faced with making severe budget cuts.

“The scale of the savings required to balance next year’s budget has already seen the Council agree, unanimously, that it has to increase the Council Tax by the maximum allowed.

"Even with the additional funding Aberdeenshire still needs to find savings of close to £20 million.

"But some cuts that looked inevitable won’t now be necessary.

"For that, I am relieved and thankful.”

Green councillor Martin Ford said: “The DIGG want to see the additional funding used to protect important public services, services that might otherwise be facing cuts.

"For instance, with the extra money, the Council can certainly balance its books for next year without cutting teaching posts or Council-funded local bus services.

“The DIGG will propose a balanced revenue budget for 2020/21 that makes no cuts to teacher numbers or local bus services.

"I hope the other political groups on the Council give the same commitment.

"There is certainly no financial need to make cuts in these areas.

"If other councillor groups do propose such cuts, it’s because they want to, not because they have to.

“If the Council was to choose to make cuts to bus services now, that would be particularly crass.

"What is the point of free bus travel for those aged 18 and under if there are no bus services to travel on?

"The Council has numerous policies from social inclusion to transport and tackling climate change that need good public transport to work.

"The Council must live up to its own commitments in the budget choices it makes for next year.”

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