SNP warns Shire heading for massive underspend

SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire have warned that the council could be heading for a similar result to last year’s unprecedented £25 million underspend.

Councillors discussed a report at the Policy & Resources Committee on Thursday last week which warned that “a similar financial result to last year could be seen this year”.

The report also outlined a current forecast of an £18 million underspend by the end of March 2013. The council’s Administration propose using some of the underspend to support the Capital Budget but when the SNP suggested doing this last year it was dismissed out of hand.

Commenting, SNP Group Finance spokesperson Cllr Fergus Hood said: “This is quite breathtaking and probably unprecedented in the history of Scottish local government finance. Council service users, particularly the old and the very young, are still coming to terms with last years cuts of £28 million which we were told were essential to balance the books. Instead, the council ended up with £25 million underspent.

“Now we are told that the same thing might happen again this year. It is quite incredible and begs the question as to whether this Tory-led administration has learned anything at all from last year’s events.

“It’s all very well to say that an underspend is better than an overspend, but that’s a conversation the Tory, Liberal and Independent councillors who run the council are welcome to have with parents, former classroom assistants, and sheltered housing residents who have all seen services slashed to balance a budget that is clearly out of control.”