Trade unionists will join other voices across the city today to condemn the “drastic package” of cuts being considered by Aberdeen City Council.
Aberdeen Trade Union Council (ATUC), together with Aberdeen Anarchist Group and Aberdeen Social Centre, has organised a lobby of today’s budget meeting.
They will join a host of community groups and cultural organisations who are expected to turn up in force outside the Town House in response to the “drastic package of cuts” put forward to meet a £41.2 million budget deficit.
ATUC secretary Fiona Napier said: “These cuts put hundreds of jobs at risk and funding for many vital community groups and services faces being slashed.
“School crossing and public toilets – all at risk.
“ATUC will be joining community groups, concerned citizens and trade unionists outside the council chambers today to remind councillors of the crucial role these jobs, groups and services play in our communities.”
Doug Haywood from Aberdeen Social Centre said: “It’s time for feet on the streets.
“We need everyone’s voice!
“Our communities, our children, our teenagers and our elderly will be most affected by this. People’s jobs, people’s lives, will be torn apart by some of these proposals.”
The savings presented, which total £44.741m, could see council tax rise by up to 4.79% and crossing patrollers axed.
Community groups and cultural organisations are also facing substantial cuts to their budgets. Children who use a family centre at Woodside-based Fersands Community Project were left in tears after hearing of proposals to slash £91,000 from their budget.
Meanwhile, councillors gave a preview yesterday of some of the heated spats expected to occur in the council chamber today.
A meeting of all councillors voted 23 votes to 19 in favour of asking for COSLA’s support to retain the extra £28m the city is expected to generate in business rates in 2019-20, without a reduction in their general revenue grant.
They also agreed to call for a review of the funding distribution formula which “disadvantages Aberdeen massively”.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said the Scottish Government chooses to cut funds to local authorities to “cover up their failure” at managing the economy.
He added: “We now get the same funding level as Orkney. It’s a scandal.
“This city generates 86% of its own revenue from non-domestic rates, council tax and fees and charges. We’re not asking for a favour, we’re asking for fairness.”
But SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said the cuts were down to “Tory austerity protected once again by suspended Labour members in Aberdeen”.
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He added that he could not support calling for the £28m, adding it would leave the council with a “humongous shortfall” during years when businesses are struggling.
He said: “The funding formula is flawed and it needs to be reviewed. But I’m at a loss why only now a letter is going to COSLA.”
Councillors will meet at the Town House today to set their budget for 2019-20.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Aberdeen Council will receive £375.7m to fund local services in 2019-20. Using their council tax powers they could also generate an additional £5.8m meaning a total of £381.6m. This represents an increase of £21.2m or 5.9%.”
COSLA declined to comment.