A decision to hand over operation of an iconic concert venue to a private company has been branded a “slap in the face” to Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council leaders chose to franchise the city’s Beach Ballroom to make projected savings of £146,000 as the cash-strapped council looks to plug a £41.2 million funding shortfall.
The SNP group has slammed the decision to “flog” the running of the venue off to the “highest bidder”, but council leaders argue they have to make “tough choices” against a backdrop of reduced government funding.
Alex Nicoll, SNP city growth spokesman, said: “The decision to hand the keys to the Beach Ballroom to a private company is at odds with all previous commitments from Councillor Laing, and her suspended Labour colleagues, that outsourcing was not part of their plan.
“This short-sighted and completely unnecessary decision will be a cause of real concern to staff and the administration must immediately clarify what the consequences of this decision will be.
“The Beach Ballroom is one of the most iconic buildings in Aberdeen – to flog it off to the highest bidder is a slap in the face to the city and our rich history.”
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This will see the venue, which holds a wide variety of events, concerts and exhibitions, run by a private firm and remove the local authority from its day-to-day running.
The council’s SNP group, who rejected the option in its entirety, have accused the ruling Labour, Conservative, Independent administration of going against previous commitments to retain services in-house as they undertook a £125m transformation of how they run the council.
Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “Thanks to the SNP Scottish Government’s continued under-funding of Aberdeen City Council we must make tough choices in order to protect the city’s finances.
“I can confirm that the Beach Ballroom will remain within the city council’s ownership, however, as the facility currently runs at a loss we are looking to see if the private sector can run the Beach Ballroom more cost effectively. As always, we will protect our employees by ensuring TUPE transfer or secondment of service”.
When TUPE applies, the employees of the outgoing employer automatically become employees of the incoming employer at the point of transfer.
They carry with them their continuous service from the outgoing employer, and should continue to enjoy the same terms and conditions with the new employer.