Public excluded from ‘sensitive’ Council budget discussions

George Alexander – budget discussion closed to public

MORAY COUNCILLORS WILL discuss budget cuts that are said will have a severe impact on every home in the region behind closed doors.

The local authority will meet in a special session on Monday afternoon – but the press and public are to be excluded from the meeting as the contents of the proposals are ‘too sensitive’.

It is expected that the budget is required to find around £14million in savings if Moray has any hope of avoiding a situation where they would run out of cash inside two years. The ruling Conservative/Independent group have been warning for months that the measures they take may be “unpalatable” – and two of their number have already quit the group.

Council Leader George Alexander said that it was necessary to hold the initial discussions behind closed doors because they were in part relating to job cuts – with specific posts being named.

He said: “The meeting is to get approval to put the paper out to consultation – it is up to the council whether or not we do that. The posts of individuals are mentioned – I do not wish to cause unnecessary stress by having papers put in public for a week when it might not even be part of the consultation that is agreed in the end.”

Mr Alexander insisted that the approved measures for consultation will be made public as soon as possible – and he has the support in the measure from opposition councillors, with joint-leader of the SNP group, Graham Leadbitter, saying it was “normal process and nothing strange about it”.