Fears raised over Facebook use as main budget consultation source

Moray Council has been criticised for running a Facebook poll to finalise plans to save more than £6 million.

Fears have been raised that the local authority’s social media exercise could exclude up to a third of the region’s population.

Details that could form part of the authority’s budget for next year remain a secret after councillors met yesterday.

However, the council did confirm members had ratified the consultation which will be used to inform the decision-making process behind the Conservative and Independent administration’s financial plan.

And senior councillors have warned that locals who are outraged at some proposals will not be able to object to proposed cuts without offering alternatives.

Shona Morrison, co-leader of the council’s SNP group, said: “We’re very concerned about the short consultation period and the fact the main platform for it is Facebook.

“This is not helpful in hearing the views of some of our most vulnerable groups who have limited or no internet access.

“That is nearly a third of the population in Moray whose views also need to be heard.”

Information about the budget proposals is set to be posted on the council’s website and hard copies will be available at Access Points and libraries. During the talks it was also decided to extend the consultation by a week until January 14.

Council leader George Alexander insisted opinions would be welcomed however they were sent. He said: “In the past we’ve gone round village halls with display boards. We simply don’t have the time to do that this year.

“We’re very constrained with what we can do.”