The leader of Moray Council is to attempt to reverse a decision that is set to create a £4million shortfall in the local authority allocation from the Scottish Government.
The funding gap emerged this week when the Scottish Government released figures that revealed the true scale of a Labour-led decision at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in September not to adopt a new system whereby councils would be funded according to model that allowed for population growth.
Instead council leaders – including the Labour-led group in Aberdeen – voted to freeze the previously used system for the 2015/16 financial year – despite please from both COSLA’s own financial officers and the Scottish Government.
As a result of that decision Moray Council will suffer from a 2.8% funding loss, the highest percentage of any local authority in Scotland and representing £4million. The row also revealed that Aberdeen Council itself would also suffer a loss of £7million.
The Conservative leader of Moray Council, Allan Wright, said it was “an appalling decision”, adding: “Labour leaders from the central belt whipped all their members to vote for no change, even though half of them would benefit from a revised distribution.
“However, Glasgow would have lost £15.5million from an allocation of more than £1billion – and that may have been the driver of the Labour move.
“I’m certain that very few council leaders were aware of the scale of change that was involved – the decision in September was based on no facts and figures.”
Revealing that COSLA has agreed to include the issue for further discussion on their agenda for a meeting on Friday, Councillor Wright added: “I can only hope that sense prevails and Moray can get its rightful share of government allocation in 2015/16.”
The SNP group leader at Moray Council, Councillor Pearl Paul, last night attacked Labour council leaders for a decision she said was a “complete neglect of their principles”.
Councillor Paul said: “The impact of Labour Council Leaders forcing through this decision is now abundantly clear with Moray set to lose over £4million from next year’s council budget if they do not reconsider.
“Labour are acting in a totally undemocratic way in COSLA. They have forced through a change against professional financial advice that will damage services in Moray and Labour Councillors in Moray need to explain their party’s decision.
“This is a shocking amount of money to lose from our budget, which is the biggest percentage cut for any council in Scotland, and for Labour Leaders not to allocate funding according to need is a complete neglect of their principles.”