Controversial plans to end discounted access to Aberdeen leisure facilities for pensioners, disabled people and others, are expected to be thrown out by councillors today.
Members of the authority’s finance committee will debate whether or not to end the £50,000 scheme, which allows cut-price access to the city’s swimming pools and sports centres.
However, after reviewing recommendations put forward by the city’s Disability Equity Partnership (DEP) and the Grampian Region Equality Council (GREC), the committee’s convener Willie Young confirmed he will now move to abandon plans to scrap the programme.
Mr Young said: “I’m going to go with the status quo. I will move that we leave it the way it is.
“We’re speaking about a rather small amount of money in the grand scheme of things – it’s £50,000, but that is making a big difference to people who need it.
“I believe the DEP and GREC put forward a strong case we should just leave the whole thing as it is, and that’s what we are going to do, because it is working.”
Former MP, Dame Anne Begg, the chairwoman of the DEP, added: “The paper we put to the council was a list of the principles any decision should be based on, including widening access for people with disabilities and encouraging them to take advantage of our leisure facilities.
“Part of that is ensuring there is some scheme in place that would give people discounted prices without them having to go through extra medical checks and things like that.
“There are a lot of disabled people in the city, who don’t know about this discount scheme, so I think there’s still a job to be done in better advertising it.
“Anything that makes sure disabled people in the city have easy and cheap access to leisure facilities is good, and the only way to get more people using these facilities is to make sure there is a way of accessing them which isn’t going to cost a lot of money – particularly for people on benefits.”