Questions have been asked by Aberdeen City Council after it emerged reserves from an arts organisation declined sharply last year, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The most recent audited accounts from Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA), as at March 31 last year, show cash reserves dropped to £18,000 – more than £80,000 below the minimum amount it’s supposed to be. APA, which operates venues including His Majesty’s Theatre, presented the accounts as part of a meeting with local authority officers.
Paul Dixon, who is the council’s accounting manager, asked if it was a concern to APA the reserves had dropped so sharply.
But the organisation has confirmed it is now back on track saying its finances and the figures for the last financial year would be above the £100,000 threshold when they are presented at a future date. The reasons cited for the drop in reserves included the introduction of the living wage for employees in April.
APA chief executive Jane Spiers said measures taken, including generating more money from food and drink, have helped the body increase its revenue.
The minutes of the meeting, to be presented to councillors on the local authority’s education and children’s services committee on Thursday, said: “Lynn MacFarlan advised that their reserves position had deteriorated due to the introduction of the national living wage in April 2016, the reduction in core funding, and the closure and the refurbishment of the Music Hall, in which £1.25 million of reserves had been invested but confirmed that reserves for 2015-16 would be above the £100,000 threshold.”
An APA spokesman said: “The figure refers to only one of Aberdeen Performing Arts’ reserves, which we have a number of, both restricted and unrestricted in their purpose.
“Those figures relate to March 31 2015 and do not accurately reflect our current reserves position, that the reserve was restored to being over £100,000 by the following financial year. Aberdeen Performing Arts reserves are currently in the region of more than £1 m.”