Shire suffers further cut in funding

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Aberdeenshire Council has been informed that its Scottish Government grant settlement for 2011/12 is to be reduced by a further £511,000 due to an error in the complex calculation formula.

Revised settlement figures have been issued to local authorities after errors were discovered. These include an error concerning the distribution of council tax freeze monies among councils.

The implications of these changes mean that Aberdeenshire’s share of the total grant for local government for 2011/12 has been reduced by a further £511,000.

Instead of £426.988million, Aberdeenshire Council now expects to receive £426.477million for the 2011/12 financial year.

This compares with £435.271m in the current financial year and means the council will have a total of £8.794m less next year to provide services to the residents and businesses of Aberdeenshire, rather than the anticipated £8.283m

Commenting on the figures, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Anne Robertson said: “While accepting errors can be made, it is particularly disappointing that this has resulted in a further cut in the resources available to the Council and further penalises the North East of Scotland.

“Aberdeenshire Council has, for many years, raised concerns about the complexity of the grant formula and will continue to argue for the formula to be simplified and provide a fairer share of grant for Aberdeenshire.

“The council already receives 13.6% below the average for Scotland in terms of government grant, and for 2011/12 that figure stands at 12.6%. This error only adds to the pressures the council is facing in balancing its budget for the coming year.”

The grant settlement for Scottish councils was announced by Minister for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney on December 9, 2010.

Aberdeenshire Council’s overall budget for 2011/12 is expected to be £542.97million. Officers will now begin to assess the implications of the funding error.