Stark realities facing Moray as services must be cut

Donald Gatt with Moray’s MP Douglas Ross – stark reality facing Council.

THE STARK FINANCIAL REALITIES facing Moray Council are being highlighted by a leading member of the Conservative and Independent Administration group this morning.

Ahead of what are being anticipated as the most difficult budget decisions yet by the local authority, Keith and Cullen councillor Donald Gatt has spoken of the choices being faced – admitting that a raft of services will need to be cut as financial reserves diminish.

Councillor Gatt has said that none of those members elected earlier this year stood on a platform of cuts to local services – but the realities of the position Moray finds itself in is now become ever more clear to them all.

He said: “I am acutely aware that Moray Council faces a severe financial situation over the next two years.

“Notwithstanding the level of block grant from the Scottish Government, there is insufficient income to continue to provide services at their current level. While the use of Council reserves is sufficient to prop up services in the short term, these are predicted to be exhausted by mid Financial Year 2019/20.”

Councillors have already started detailed discussions on local authority budget for next year, which are due to be discussed by all members in December.

These deliberations will weigh heavy on every member, with Councillor Gatt adding: “Like fellow Councillors I did not stand for election to make cuts to local services. However, we must face our responsibilities and address the reality of the situation as it is and not how we would wish it to be.

“It is a serious concern that weighs heavily on each Conservative Councillor as we strive to protect local services. I will watch the forthcoming UK budget and following Scottish Government budget with interest to endeavour that Moray gets a fair and equitable share of funding.”