A senior Aberdeen councillor has said the authority may look at privatising car parks in a bid to close a £26million black hole in the budget.
Conservative finance vice-convener Ross Thomson said the administration was looking at “all measures” to raise the cash and may sell or lease council car parks to private companies.
Council chiefs claim to have already identified £20million worth of savings through “fat trimming” measures like replacing street lights with energy efficient bulbs and using the same utility providers across council buildings.
But Mr Thomson, who represents the Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward, said: “If we had received the same settlement in previous years we would be the only authority in Scotland to run a surplus budget.
“As it stands we will have to look at many areas and parking is one of those.
“If the private sector ran the car parks it would mean the council wouldn’t have to pay for their upkeep or staffing.
“Nothing is set in stone but this measure could lead to drivers paying less to park in the city centre.”
The move was met with scepticism from the opposition SNP group.
A spokesman said: “At first glance this looks like councillor Thomson is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
“While it may save money in the short term, the council may find itself hit in the long run.
“The city’s car parks are heavily used and bring in much revenue.
“If councillor Thomson comes forward with a costed proposal then we will listen to it and take it onboard.”
A labour source said: “Other authorities have gone down this route in the past but we have not sat down with our Conservative colleagues to talk about it formally as policy.”