Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Councils agree to savings and council tax freeze

Residents are seeing council tax bills frozen

Millions of pounds of savings and cuts affecting council services have been agreed by local authorities in the north east and Northern Isles.

Aberdeen City Council approved savings of £31.5m, Moray Council agreed to £5m and Aberdeenshire approved £4.4m.

Orkney Islands Council warned of savings of more than £1m. Shetland Islands Council is due to meet next week.

Council tax figures are being frozen in line with recent years.

Aberdeen City Council's council tax figure for a Band D property will be £1,230.39. Moray's figure is £1,135, while the figure is £1,141 in Aberdeenshire and £1,037 in Orkney.

'Uncharted waters'

The councils have warned of further savings in coming years.

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor John Stewart said: "We wish to achieve the very best services for the people of Aberdeen, but we must live within our means.

"There can be no disguising the difficult financial background against which the council must deliver services.

"Public sector finance is under intense pressure and our own situation is further exacerbated by the many anomalies of a funding distribution formula which is far from fit for purpose."

Allan Wright, chairman of Moray Council's policy and resources committee, said of the budget consultation: "I applaud the people of Moray for the way they participated in such a wholehearted way and the understanding they displayed that we were entering uncharted waters in terms of required savings.

"Having saved £5m from the revenue budget and £3.3m from the capital budget, we will have to go away and do the same thing again for this time next year - and for the year after that."

Extra teachers

Opening hours at libraries, swimming pools and community facilities will be cut.

Elgin High School improvements and a proposed regional sports centre have been deferred.

Aberdeenshire Council leader Anne Robertson said: "We are determined to deliver on the council's strategic priorities, but we do so in a period of financial uncertainty and where the public sector is facing significant financial challenges.

"Aberdeenshire Council cannot escape the reality of the economic recession, but it can play its part in responding to the concerns of our tax payers and customers."

Aberdeenshire Council also announced it would be employing an additional 50 teachers over the next two years to provide 25 hours a week education for all Primary 1, 2 and 3 pupils.

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