Aberdeen’s debt predicted to hit £900million

How Aberdeen's proposed energy from waste plant could look. It is earmarked for a site on the city’s Greenbank Crescent in East Tullos.

Aberdeen City Council’s long term debt is creeping towards £900million according to new figures obtained by the opposition SNP group.

The new stats come from a council finance officer and do not include the multi-million pound energy from waste facility, Berryden Corridor, and the art gallery extension projects which are still to be paid for.

Last week it was reported that the local authority owed around £483million in long term debt to the treasury.

And number crunchers in the SNP have now added the £370million recently raised on the bond market and a further £93.3million in mortgages to arrive at the new sum.

SNP finance spokesman Graham Dickson said the administration had “mortgaged Aberdeen to the hilt”.

He said: “Aberdeen City Council will soon hit a long term debt level of £900million and it will no doubt hit the billion pound mark if the Labour and Tory cabal have their way. This is an astronomical figure which this administration will have created during their tenure.

“Whilst issuing bonds was the cheapest way for the council to borrow £370million it must be remembered that it is £370million more of debt pushing us closer to £900million – and that debt has to be paid back no matter how tight our finances get in the future.

“These figures alone do not give the full picture of the commitments that the administration has made and the full cost to Aberdeen will be substantial in the coming years.”

But finance convener Willie Young said that the issuing of the bond showed that the City of London “had confidence” in the council which has more than £2.5billion in assets .

He said: “It really must be a matter of concern to the public that Councillor Dickson, the shadow finance spokesman for the SNP, fails to understand simple finance as he has forgotten that the council has substantial assets.

“It recently received a A2 credit rating from Moody’s which resulted in companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange investing confidently in Aberdeen City Council PLC.

“Our investment programme has received praise from Audit Scotland and the SNP finance minister Derek Mackay, obviously this message has not yet reached councillor Dickson and his SNP colleagues who continue to knock Aberdeen at each and every opportunity.”