No room at the inn, no money in the pot

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In developments that will do little to contribute to festive cheer, the Moray Council Group Leaders of the SNP Administration Group, the Moray Alliance Group and the Councillors’ Open Group have issued a joint statement on the state of the Council’s financial situation.

Group leaders: Cllrs Graham Leadbitter and Shona Morrison (co-leaders of SNP), Cllr George Alexander (leader of Councillors’ Open Group), and Cllr John Divers (leader of Moray Alliance Group) have stated:

“This week the leaders of Moray Council’s four political groups met to be briefed on the council’s anticipated budget grant ahead of the settlement being issued by the Scottish Government in the evening.

“Our finance team continue to interrogate the detail of the detailed budget circular to bottom out exactly what it will mean for our budget for 2019/20 but it is looking like there will have to be another major reduction in spending, over and above the £6.4 million savings already identified for next year.

“At present it is estimated that we will need to reduce spending by a further £7.3 million to balance the budget in February. That will mean it is not possible to continue to fund many of the services we currently provide and the council will have to prepare for this by considering what further services will have to go at our next meeting on 23 January.

“Recognising the magnitude of the challenge, we will work together to prepare a financial plan that can be put before the entire council to provide a balanced budget for 2019/20. This will be an enormous challenge but we are determined to do the best we can for Moray and to work towards financial stability within the constraints of the funding provided.”

While our Councillors continue to grapple with the seemingly impossible task to square this financial circle, insideMORAY would put forward two requests:

  • please protect and support the most vulnerable members of our communities, and
  • please use the opportunity to devolve – in a planned, resourced and supported way – more control to local communities over assets and services in their area.