Budget is passed with over £6m being shaved and jobs lost

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MORAY COUNCILLORS TODAY passed almost all the measures in their budget for 2018/19 that seeks to save over £6million.

In a debate lasting around three hours a motion to pass the budget was carried by 13 votes to 11 – with one surprise abstention.

At the outset the Leader of Moray Council, Councillor George Alexander, revealed that some of the measures were to be changed slightly, with clarification that the Moray Citizens Advice funding was to be cut by £30,000 this year but proposal for a further cut next year was removed.

Three currently vacant posts for school home link workers were added to the cuts, but social education behavioural needs and mental health provision would remain intact after previously being listed for cuts.

Opposition councillors from the SNP and new Moray Alliance Group eventually agree to amalgamate their individual proposals, with the SNP agreeing to do so only when a plan by the Alliance to cut the additional pay for Council committee chairs was withdrawn.

Alliance member Councillor Derek Ross opened proceedings by attempting to have the entire budget debate delayed for two weeks as ‘insufficient time had been given’ to impact assessments on several of the proposed cuts.

That was, however, defeated by 13 votes to 12 after acrimonious exchanges with Councillor Alexander – one Councillor, alliance leader John Divers, not being present due to ill health.

It was shortly after 1pm when the final vote was taken and Moray’s path for the next year had been set.

Earlier, a unanimous decision saw the 3% increase in Council Tax being approved.