Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:08 UK

Charities criticise city council

Aberdeen City Council
The second day of the hearing was running on Wednesday

Charities in Aberdeen have launched a bitter attack on the city council as a hearing into its finances finished.

Groups affected by the council's 27m budget cuts were giving evidence at the Accounts Commission hearing.

Chief executive of homeless charity The Cyrenians, Paul Hannan, said the council had "failed" the city's people.

The hearing has been gathering information to gain "a greater understanding" of the council's financial difficulties.

The council is currently pursuing a programme of cutbacks, which has led to weeks of public protests.

Mr Hannan told the hearing of the council: "They have not engaged with organisations like The Cyrenians in a professional way.

"I receive pity when people know that I have to work with the council."

Continue job

There was applause from members of the gallery when Mr Hannan said: "They have failed the people of Aberdeen."

The leader of the Lib Dem and SNP administration, Kate Dean, said she was not considering stepping down.

She said: "I'm certainly going to continue in my job, I don't see any reason why not."

The Accounts Commission hearing followed the Controller of Audit's report, which highlighted concerns about best value and community planning.

Fresh look

The commission's findings could include recommendations to Aberdeen City Council and Scottish ministers.

The second day of the hearing followed Tuesday's opening, featuring council chief executive Douglas Paterson announcing he was to take early retirement.

The council's Labour group leader Len Ironside has called for a fresh look at the council's budget.

He hopes the Accounts Commission's inquiry will make some recommendations towards achieving this.

The council, which is run by a Lib Dem/SNP coalition, earlier admitted difficult choices had to be made and blamed years of under funding.


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