Council leader offers reassurance following ‘unfortunate’ comments

THE LEADER OF MORAY COUNCIL has stepped into the row caused by quotes attributed to Speyside Glenlivet councillor Walter Wilson.

Councillor Wilson quit the Conservative/Independent administration group on Monday, saying that he simply could not be part of planned cuts being formed.

In line with all Councils in Scotland, Moray is expecting to face severe financial difficulties in the coming years and have appealed for assistance from the Scottish Government – without which, they say, they will be forced into savage cuts on essential services.

Councillor Wilson indicated that talk of cutting School Crossing patrol staff, toilets, community centres and Libraries were a step too far, forcing him to quit the Conservative party and with that his place on the ruling administration.

This morning Moray Council’s leader George Alexander said in an open letter to the people of Moray: “Many of you will have read about budget proposals that we as councillors are discussing, as told to the media by Councillor Wilson.

“Councillor Wilson’s comments in the media are unfortunate, as it will have spread fear and alarm amongst staff and members of the public.

“Everyone in Moray is aware of the dire financial situation the council is in, and I make no secret of the fact that everything possible is being discussed in order to explore how the budget for 2018-19 can be balanced and essential services maintained.”

Councillor Alexander added that every council department affected by any proposals will be informed over the next two weeks with the possibility of redundancies openly discussed with staff.

He added: “All the administration group’s proposals will be in the public domain for consultation in December and I will welcome all comment. However, I must remind everyone that the council does need to make savings and should the savings proposals we are discussing be withdrawn, other savings proposals would have to take their place.

“I find it most disturbing to have to lead the council during a time of such severe financial difficulties – no councillor enjoys having to make reductions in service. These service cuts are forced upon us by national governments and they are certainly not the fault of the people of Moray.

“Within the constraints we are facing we will do everything I can to protect jobs and services. I apologise for the alarm caused by Councillor Wilson’s words, over which I had no control.”