Page last updated at 20:07 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 21:07 UK

50m cuts fear for city council

Aberdeen skyline
The cutbacks so far have seen services affected in Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council faces having to make almost double the 27m savings forecast, BBC Scotland can reveal.

In a report for a worst-case scenario by the council's chief accountant, the gross savings total almost 50m.

Measures being considered include a freeze on recruitment and halting major capital projects.

The controversial plans to make the 27m of savings meant school closures and major cuts in services, leading to public protest.

The authority, run by a Liberal Democrat-SNP coalition, needs to make the savings to balance its books.

Tommy Campbell, of the T&G Unite union, told BBC Scotland: "It's absolutely disgraceful, financial madness. It's a sad state of affairs.

How on earth did Aberdeen City Council get into this mess?
Anne Begg
Aberdeen South MP

"Questions have to be asked. It's a serious crisis for the council."

He said it could mean "serious job losses" and that many people were "sick" of working for the council.

Labour councillor Yvonne Allan said: "The council is going from bad to worse, it's a mess.

"If push comes to shove the place could go bankrupt."

Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South said: "This is a huge black hole in the council's finances and represents 15% of Aberdeen's total budget.

"How on earth did Aberdeen City Council get into this mess? The original figure was bad enough and represented a huge cut in services. This new figure represents swinging cuts and will seriously affect frontline services."

Aberdeen City Council said in a statement there was nothing new in the figures and that it had always been entirely transparent about the savings.

A critical report from the Accounts Commission earlier this year said the council faced "extremely serious" challenges.

The cutbacks have led to months of protests in Aberdeen.

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