Councillors consider five year budget

Councillors met last week to consider a five year budget for Aberdeenshire Council and agree a balanced budget for the next three years.

Councillors agreed a budget of £548 million to deliver a range of vital local services to the residents of Aberdeenshire over the next year.

Councillors agreed a series of Scottish Government policy initiativeswhich were presented in a report prepared by the Head of Finance.

This means the Council’s grant will be maintained at the level announced by the Government in December last year, and commit the council to delivering a council tax freeze for 2012/13, maintaining police and teacher numbers, a contribution to Change Funds and a re-profiling of capital funding.

Last year the council agreed to deliver £52 million of savings across all services, which included reviews to make the council more efficient, as well as some reductions to services. The council continues to progress this and these savings will be delivered by the end of 2012/13.

In considering a five year budget, the council will be in a good position to prepare for future challenges and restrict the impact that budget reductions have on local communities.

At the meeting, councillors considered options for making further savings in future years.

The Scottish Government has announced indicative settlement figures for the next few years, which reveal a £10 million shortfall for Aberdeenshire Council by 2014/15.

The council is making preparations now to relieve the impact on communities of these shortfalls and officers will recommend that underspends that are currently being forecast should be used to reduce the pressure in later years, along with other proposals for delivering service efficiencies.