Councillor hits out at public consultations on ‘already decided’ cuts

PUBLIC VIEWS ON cuts to services by Moray Council are only ever sought when decisions have already been decided.

That was the view this week of one local councillor who hit out at the lack of real consultation with the Moray public on what areas should be spared the axe in budget cuts.

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross was speaking out during a meeting of the audit and performance committee when a paper on the Council’s budget strategy for the next two years was being discussed.

Councillor Ross, who is no stranger to speaking his mind in the chamber, said: “I’ll be as diplomatic as I possibly can be – but it appears the council is committed only to consulting with the public before the budgets are finalised.

“The administration is looking to where budget savings can be made – and then it will consult with the public on predetermined ideas. It does seem that where cuts will be made have already been decided and that is not the best way to run Moray.”

Councillor Ross blasted back at his former administration colleagues, adding that it was not proper consultation when people are only asked their view on matters that had already been decided.

“Surely the people should be consulted before committee heads started drawing up their plans?” he added.

However, the Council convener, Allan Wright, said that no final decisions had been reached on what areas of the budget would be cut, and that public consultation was an “important part” of the budget process.