MORAY COUNCIL SAY that the actual shortfall in their budget caused by the Scottish Government’s decision this week will be nearer £5million.
That will come on top of the £6.2million the local authority have already been required to make to their day-to-day spending – meaning that a total of £11million in cuts now need to be identified.
Revealing the true extent of the cuts, Council convener Allan Wright said: “This budget has just made our difficult financial position even more difficult to the tune of £5m.
“Over the months ahead we will be talking with the people of Moray about just how those savings and efficiencies can be achieved. We will listen to and hear their views – but there has to be a realisation that priorities will have to be refined and that some services will be much reduced.”
Councillor Wright added that the figures previously issued by the Scottish Government to every council did not explain that they included capital allocations.
He said that a quoted figure for Moray of £164million appeared to include £8million for capital – and that results in a budget reduction of around £5million in the day-to-day running of council services.
He added: “When we get the accurate revenue allocation, officers and councillors will consider the options available to us to cope with this latest funding pressure.
“But I can say that we will not be following the proposed route of some other councils with a voluntary redundancy scheme. Quite frankly, we cannot afford the associated payments.
“However, we will be looking very closely at every vacancy as it arises.”
Further financial pressure could also be faced by Moray in the form of a £150,000 penalty for failing to maintain teacher numbers, Councillor Wright warning: “Our teacher/pupil ratios were acceptable, but we had slightly fewer teachers than last year and as a consequence it seems that we will suffer a significant financial penalty.”