Aberdeenshire Council prepare to slash millions from budget

Woodhill House: Aberdeenshire Council HQ
Woodhill House: Aberdeenshire Council HQ

Aberdeenshire residents could be facing massive cuts to its services, as the local authority propose slashing millions of pounds from its budget.

A saving proposal of £28 million will be discussed at the full council meeting at Aberdeenshire Council’s headquarters in Woodhill House, Aberdeen, on Thursday, February 11.

The bulk of the cuts suggested will be £11 million slashed from ‘Cross Cutting Savings’; a Revenue Budget made available ahead of the meeting states that these cuts are ‘most likely to negatively impact on younger and older females who have a disability’.

Female staffing levels may also take a blow.

The report adds: “The implementation of the identified budget savings may result in a reduction in staffing numbers across some council services.

“Given the make-up of the council’s workforce, which is 77% female, the impact of any staffing reductions will have an overall disproportionate impact on this protected characteristic.”

However, it added that ‘such cuts will be managed through the relevant council priorities and procedures, and, for example, redeployment opportunities will be sought to mitigate these’.

It has been predicted that the council will face a funding shortfall of £45.5 million by 2021.

Aberdeenshire Council had already prepared £6 million worth of savings as part of a local government funding settlement, but it appears that the budget cuts will be worse than originally anticipated.

Several councillors have spoken out ahead of the vote.

Leader of the Aligned Independents Norman Smith blamed the SNP.

He said: “I think everybody will need to buy into the fact we were pretty short-changed by the Scottish Government.”

Council co-leader Martin Kitts-Hayes said the effects of the cuts would be mitigated. “We’re continuing to look at efficiencies across the council to work smarter,” he said.