Councillors have quit the board of the threatened Aberdeen International Youth Festival – so they can force through an end to its townhouse funding,
The future of the annual £150,000 grant given to the festival (AIYF) could come down to a single ballot at a crunch council meeting on Monday.
Under conduct rules, councillors are not expected to vote on matters they may have an interest in.
Four councillors in Aberdeen’s ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent alliance were, as of last night, listed as affiliated to AIYF.
But yesterday Alan Donnelly and Sarah Duncan confirmed they had resigned their positions, while Marie Boulton said she had not and Claire Imrie did not respond to requests for comment.
If Mrs Boulton were to remove herself from the vote on Monday, and Ms Imrie also resign, then the opposition and administration could be tied on 22 votes each – with the casting vote in the hands of Lord Provost Barney Crockett.
There was an angry response after the council’s education committee voted unanimously last month to stop the authority’s yearly contribution last month.
An appeal to keep the funding going was supported by celebrities including world-famous percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.
But criticism of the festival has focused on declining audiences and a lack of support for the event from any other public body.
Mr Donnelly said he had “no alternative” but to resign ahead of the meeting – and criticised the opposition SNP group for not taking seats on the board.
He said: “It is a real shame that this issue has been politicised like this by the opposition.
“I would like the festival to continue to be sustainable and continue on but I have been forced into this position.
“The opposition are playing a dangerous game here with this U-turn for another of their populist policies – even after the education vote was unanimous.
“It is with great sadness and regret I have had to come to this position.”
SNP finance spokesman Alex Nicoll said: “Given that councillors Donnelly and Duncan seem willing to resign from a board in order to cut funding to that organisation, folk will be questioning whether they ever had its best interests at heart and if they were fit to be involved with the youth festival at all.”